The big challenge

Politics, as it turns out, is the most unpredictable and challenging of sports. The election of Antonis Samaras to the helm of New Democracy is proof that what seemed inconceivable yesterday is possible today. After being cast out into the political desert, Samaras was able, in just a few days, to completely turn the tide and stage a comeback. How did he do it? First, he tapped into a deep vein of anger and a desire to protest against the political dynasties that have ruled the political roost for decade upon decade. At one time, it seemed like the simplest choice to vote for the offspring of tried-and-tested dynasties in order to find a solution. In the case of Costas Karamanlis, a large part of society invested in him, but it also lashed out violently in the last national elections when it felt that he had let them down. The same wave of dissatisfaction toward political dynasties may well sweep away the current prime minister’s popularity as well if he fails to solve a number of imminent problems soon. Maybe it is unfair to these heirs that people get so angry at them but, unfair or not, Dora Bakoyannis fell victim to this trend, as well as to the desire by a large percentage of voters to shake up the status quo within ND. In a similar vein, Karamanlis was lauded when he took on the party establishment and lambasted when he sided with it. Due to his lengthy absence from the political arena, Samaras is no longer identified as part of this establishment and therefore won favor among disgruntled voters. Either way, Samaras staged a solid campaign and reached out to the average ND voter. The road ahead will be an uphill battle strewn with obstacles, as the people are running out of patience with politicians and political parties largely due to the financial crisis. The biggest challenge for the new opposition leader is to transform ND into a modern center-right party that will be able to convince the public that will soon be capable of governing the country once more.

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