Sour grapes

After every opinion poll in which the government loses ground, its members announce that, if they roll up their sleeves today, they can still turn things around. Then, burdened by the weight of their own statements, they seem to confuse making it happen with talking about it and put off until tomorrow, or the day after, the things that they are supposed to be doing today. When it comes to the upcoming European Parliament elections in June, their favorite response used to be that they are ready to give it their best. Now, knowing that the elections will probably not bring a good result for their party, they have changed their tune, with the government spokesman leading the show in trivializing the European elections simply so that they can reduce the importance of their expected defeat. Sure, European elections have always been associated with the «soft» vote. But because this vote does not obey the rules of the clientelist system it probably reflects the mind-set of the country’s citizens more than national elections. Chances are that in June’s elections we won’t be voting based on the parties’ policies on European issues, which we probably won’t even know anything about until the eve of the national elections. What the European elections will achieve is an assessment of the government’s policies of the past five years. And here, as the polls tell us, it will be deemed lacking. If these elections are not accompanied by general elections, they will effectively serve as a referendum on the government, and not just because main opposition PASOK – which is already dreaming of its return to power – has said so. Trivializing the European Parliament elections pre-emptively will come as little comfort to New Democracy. In a country where the highest echelons of government are mobilized even for university student elections, who can think that European elections are not important, and especially at this juncture? Only the defeated.

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