OPINION

The power of 12.14 percent

There must be something wrong with my math: 4.60 plus 7.54 equals 12.14 in my reckoning, or the total percentage of votes received by SYRIZA Coalition of the Radical Left and the Communist Party (KKE). Yet they wield much more influence than this 12.14 percent justifies, because they have created the bogeyman that goes by the name of «political cost.» PASOK has often shied away from progressive reforms because it feared losing support from the left. New Democracy, in turn, does not like to admit that it has ties with the ultra-right, as if its voters would ever turn to SYRIZA or KKE. In these early days of PASOK’s administration, it is obvious that SYRIZA and KKE will try to undermine PASOK as soon as possible in order to start benefiting from the disappointment felt by those who expected Prime Minister George Papandreou to perform miracles. They will strike wherever they can, particularly when the government whets their appetite with its ambivalent stance on the issues of Cosco, OTE and Olympic. The problem is that no government has been prepared to call a spade a spade, thereby allowing the left and unions to shape public opinion. This is why the public does not know the truth about the status of the workers at Piraeus port, or why no one laughs when reading about Olympic staff being sacked, oblivious of the lucrative deals they have been offered to leave. One day, PASOK and New Democracy will realize that the people want change and this is why they gave them 77.4 percent of their vote. The new government has two options. One is to stall on all substantial reform and to base its decisions on the will of that 12.14 percent. The other is to press ahead with necessary reforms, protect the most vulnerable members of society, let Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos deal with the «leftist front» and hope that its popularity comes out unscathed. If its opts for the former, it will simply drop from the sky like a stone. If, however, it chooses the latter, the flight will be rough, but the landing will be much gentler.