Decision time

Many of our fellow citizens are genetically programmed voters, as it were. Regardless of political developments, they always vote according to family preference, personal interest or deeply held ideological conviction. The number of people who vote that way is large, if in decline. It is the younger people who have been classified as undecideds at some point or another. And naturally so, as dividing lines and fanaticism are a thing of the past. Society has grown more indifferent to politics. Television has created a horrible sense of familiarity with the present political leaders that one could never have had with the late Constantine Karamanlis, for example. And the political parties have lost their romantic appeal. Their strength derives from their ability to do political favors and serve interests. Only few Greeks truly believe that the next prime minister will be able to overcome the huge challenges of public debt, education, healthcare, corruption and the inept public administration. Karamanlis and Papandreou are fighting two contradictory battles in tandem: They are trying to rally their traditional supporters but they are also trying to convince undecided voters. Combining these things is not easy because the fanfare whips up the faithful but turns off the middle-ground voters. There are quite a few melancholic and pensive voters who are deeply concerned about what will happen from October 5 onward. They see that neither of the two leaders has any plausible plan, tried and tested personnel and a modernized party that can handle the burden of governing the country. A part of them wants to vote for PASOK because they believe that a strong single-party government is needed, another part wants to see an ND-PASOK coalition government, while some are trying to keep faith with the prime minister. Nobody can know where these voters will end up. At present, they just look on with disbelief as others declare fanatically in favor of one leader or the other and wonder where Greece will find itself on October 5.