Voters turn their backs on populism

Greek voters have behaved more maturely than the nation’s politicians would have us believe. It would be no exaggeration to claim that the country’s political system has systematically underestimated the judgment of the citizenry. The municipal and regional elections this weekend were extremely successful for established professionals. At the same time, voters turned their back on so-called career politicians. Voters demonstrated their courage in the face of the government’s painful reforms which are aimed at pulling the country out of the fiscal hole into which it has dug itself. But it is also true the high abstention rate showed that people are still angry. However, in those cases where George Papandreou chose to back fresh candidates who do not belong to the party apparatus, these candidates were rewarded by the electorate. As for conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras, people rejected his flat rejection of the International Monetary Fund memorandum as well as his unfortunate selection of candidates. In their own way, voters urged Samaras to shed his populist rhetoric and the political figures that went with it.