OPINION

The problem with voters

It is common knowledge that Greece has sunk extremely low over the past few years. This decadence not only hinders its chance at prosperity but also corrodes the elements in society that are necessary should there be any hope of climbing out of the slump. As is usually the case, the root of the problem is political rather than economic. The political system, instead of creating an infrastructure that would allow the country to maximize its comparative advantages and develop its production, acts as a brake, creating more problems than it solves. Citizens accuse the politicians of incompetence, corruption and serving private interests. But the commonly held belief that rot works its way down is only one part of the equation. The other, which journalists rarely comment upon, is the electoral behavior of citizens. Citizens themselves are part of the political problem rather than its solution. The criteria by which they choose a party, and even more so a particular MP, are to a great degree controversial if not downright unacceptable. As a general rule, Greeks either choose politicians because of how they come across on TV or because they expect to have their ear at a later date. Meanwhile, party members from both major Greek parties with strong ideological and political positions, people known for their realism, dependability and honesty, have frequently found themselves left out of Parliament. The upside of the financial crisis is that it tears off the veil on the real situation in the country, dashing chronic delusions and hypocritical practices. If the new prime minister elected on Sunday chooses to take the public relations route, he will sink before he’s even had a chance to start his journey. Come Sunday night, he will face a barrage of advice and criticism. But to really win, he will need a comprehensive plan, clarity of language and dependable and clever ministers who can be coordinated, controlled and assessed from government headquarters. Conditions as they exist right now allow for nothing less.