OPINION

Insufferable hypocrisy

Since the 1900 presidential election, there has been no further recourse to early elections. In fact, an interesting tradition has been put in motion, but not out of respect for our institutions. It has occurred because partisan expediences allowed it – if not actually imposed it. In 1995, the New Democracy party did not have enough seats in Parliament to force an early election and yet it criticized the Political Spring party for voting for the center-right candidate, Costis Stephanopoulos. The year 2000 was in any case an election year. In 2005, PASOK was trailing far behind ND and had no cause to produce a stalemate. PASOK has made it clear that it will force early polls next spring and then vote for Karolos Papoulias again as president. Undoubtedly, that is a violation of the spirit of the constitution. In reality, however, PASOK is unashamedly doing what the two major parties have always done, that is, use the presidential election to further the partisan goals of the moment and not as any means for choosing the best person for the position of head of state. They are able to do that because the constitution allows them to. Each of the main political parties has presented themselves as the defenders of state institutions. Their statements are almost indistinguishable for the simple reason that their positions are not based on ideological principles but on the partisan goals of the moment. Even their manner of expression is the same, perhaps because the substance and goals are the same. It is this writer’s opinion that the presidential election should under no circumstances lead to early general elections. There are plenty of ways to resolve a potential stalemate. The fact that the constitution allows for the dissolution of Parliament is the choice of the two major parties. Now PASOK is exploiting its rival’s cynical stance in order to compromise it in the eyes of the public. That is, we have yet another instance of tired partisan rivalry. Everything else is insufferable hypocrisy.