Today, in Greece there are two things happening. First, there is a slight lull after the first extremely painful measures that needed to be taken in order to be bailed out by Europe. And second, election fever is everywhere. Even though the polls show that the public seems to be turning its back on the larger parties -viewed as responsible for the current situation – and the people shun politicians wherever they meet them, still there is a plethora of willing candidates who are begging to be included in the ballots this spring.
Unfortunately the vast majority of them are people who had been shut out of the process before for a variety of reasons but now see a vacuum and an opportunity to jump in and hopefully get to “rule.”
Elections are going to be very low key this season. Not only because there is no money but because anger is very palatable everywhere one tries to campaign.
Many current parliamentarians are retiring. Some because they feel they have difficulty explaining the situation to their constituents, others because they will certainly be sent home by disgruntled voters especially if they have had long carriers.
It is clear that there is no way that a government will form without the help of other political parties in the new extremely multi party parliament that will emerge , and yet there are no open discussions and no disclosure about who would eventually work with whom and what the agenda would be.
It seems that those who have supported the bailout and the harsh measures accompanying them, have lost their audience. If one is not against all the suffering and not playing the blame game, then he is considered all the more responsible for the average person’s plight. But where does this leave Greece in May? What if the elections produce more chaos, extremism, narrow-mindedness and ill prepared parliamentarians who will face the immediate announcement of new and harsher measures in June – if Greece is to comply with its agreements? What then?
The world press is now focusing on that and sounding a new alarm. This will not help the Greek people come to a sober decision but will continue to add exacerbate an already difficult situation. It is my hope that when the time comes, the two big parties will manage to hold it together enough so that they will be able to work together after all is said and done. But there is no guarantee that this will in fact happen.
It would be extremely useful for local politicians to tone it down a notch because their cries are just annoying the person on the street who is trying to hold onto his/her job, feed the kids, pay the bills.
It would also be a blessing if young, fresh voices, of reason and accomplishment step forward to quietly say that the work needs to be done one way or another. And that for Greece to have a better day, the passé voices of populist rhetoric need to stay home.
If this were to happen then it could in fact be the dawn of a new less cynical and less compromised era of people who have not been jaded by the process.