OPINION

Unimpeachable

New Democracy’s decision to nominate Panayiotis Psomiadis, an ultra-right-wing deputy, for the post of Thessaloniki prefect has been the subject of public opprobrium. Similarly, its nomination of centrist Yiannis Tzannetakos for super-prefect in Athens-Piraeus has been attacked on the grounds that it reinforces the candidacy of Giorgos Karadzaferis, an extreme right winger. Dora Bakoyianni, ND’s candidate for Athens mayor, has been criticized for putting Nitsa Loule, a leftist politician, on her ticket in an apparent attempt to win the Left. It’s the same old outrageous situation. The conservative, right-wing party has no right to make political overtures. Any attempt to widen its stakes is interpreted as political fraud based on expedient alliances. Any left-of-center party that dares to get into bed with ND is stigmatized for life. In contrast, the so-called progressive and democratic PASOK can play the political spectrum from the extreme right to the communists. This is no political hoax, nor are its allies tainted. Their cooperation is said to democratize them and absolve their evil past. The first such case took place after the collapse of the dictatorship. In the first elections held by the Athens Bar Association, Evangelos Yiannopoulos was elected chairman with support from a few dozen pro-junta lawyers to whom – unlike his conservative rival Anestis Papastefanou – he gave democratic absolution. PASOK went on to appropriate all the ideas of the Left, hijacking its electoral base. In PASOK’s early election campaign centers, the portrait of former Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos hung next to that of Communist resistance fighter Aris Velouhiotis. PASOK’s selections have been unimpeachable ever since. In recent years, PASOK has twice backed the presidential candidacy of Costis Stephanopoulos, a right-winger. These questions remained unanswered and yet they should be so easy to explain.