Ephemeral impressions

Quite soon, on Sunday evening in fact, the two main parties and the local electorate will be able to assess the electoral benefits yielded by the blatant skirmishing of the past weeks and the parties’ efforts to communicate their strategies to the broader public. The election result will be assessed and analyzed on television, socialist and conservative bigwigs will advertise their successes on the various evening talk shows and they will explain, in their pet post-election habit, how an apparent defeat is in fact a victory for their party. All these elements, however, will fade at some point and the two contenders will be forced to face everyday reality. The two main parties are bound together in their full endorsement, since 1992, of EMU, the policy framework which has pushed Greece into the eurozone, and the commitments of the European Stability Pact. In effect, they will continue their anxious efforts to promote their ostensible differences with a view toward the next parliamentary elections. Soon, no one will be concerned about who is the Athens-Piraeus super-prefect. Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s government will try to bolster an anemic economy and convince the public that he is capable of taking redistributive measures to help the less prosperous social strata. The opposition, trying to come across as a government-in-waiting, will lash out against the government’s policies and counter-propose an allegedly much better program in an attempt to persuade the public that it is truly a more socially sensitive party. However, both parties share a single political platform and the outcome of these elections, whatever it may be, cannot change that. The electoral percentages of the regional and municipal elections will only leave a good or bad impression for the two main parties. But this will soon evaporate. The problems facing Greece will remain.