The end of a party

The party of Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos burst like a bubble, vanishing amid complete indifference and without leaving a trace on the political landscape. The live announcement of his decision to suspend the party’s operations – during the television channels’ main news bulletins – confirmed, once again, the political nature of this venture. Solely founded on image-making tactics and marketing, it was to be expected that Avrampoulos’s self-styled party would not stand the wear and tear of time, even for this limited period of time. The outcome vindicated Kathimerini’s original criticism, that there can be no politics without ideas, positions, and confrontation with vested interests. The strategy of indiscriminate flattery, of avoiding taking costly positions on controversial issues, and the use of pompous, cost-free talk is an obsolete practice, despite the attempt made to adapt it to modern advertising concepts, which is reminiscent of Greek administrators in the 1950s. It should be noted that although Avramopoulos’s party made no contribution to Greece’s political life, its dissolution entails some important consequences. First, it is a fatal blow to the superficial and extremely distorted idea of equating substance with propaganda in politics – a habit of senior Socialist officials. Avramopoulos’s setback will deter similar attempts in the future and this is a long-term benefit for the country’s political life. Secondly, it is indicative of the current political climate. The fact that the outgoing Athens mayor put an end to his party, accepting the terms set by New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis for Avramopoulos’s return to ND, underscored the conservative opposition’s strengthened position. Avramopoulos’s move, which could be used as a model for the case of former Foreign Minister Antonis Samarras and other conservative officials, reinforced the climate of solidarity among conservatives in Greece. This is even more so given that these developments are taking place at a time when PASOK appears enfeebled by internal skirmishing and a lack of strategy. In this light, the strengthening of New Democracy’s appeal, which was spectacularly underscored by the dissolution of Avramopoulos’s party, makes a Socialist comeback seem extremely unlikely.