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What about the Progressive Centre-Left after the Greek Elections?
Contributor: Eva Kaili, October 7th 2015
It is really amazing how little an impression the Greek elections made to Europe and the rest of the world, if we compare it with the global intensive interest on the Greek affairs we experienced in the previous months. This, more or less, signifies the widely held view that as long as the present administration abandoned its extremely populist rhetoric and finally succumbed to the dictations of political and economic realism, the political risks accompanying the scenario of a potential Grexit were significantly reduced, making the outcome of the elections whatsoever indifferent.
In my view, we do not yet have the “luxury” to consider the result of the elections in Greece as “indifferent”, for several reasons.
First, because the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition, in its very geometry, is an inherently incoherent political entity. Despite the fact that Syriza’s extremist fraction disappeared after the elections, the remaining party is still consisted by a range of “leftists” covering a spectrum from moderate politicians to radical Maoists. Some members of the party formed as you might recall, an opportunistic intraparty grouping, which was guaranteeing some temporary stability in the beginning but when it failed, they exported instability to the rest of the political system of Greece, as the current past soundly revealed. Consequently, SYRIZA-ANEL lack the capacity of a mid- or long-term political planning and vision, and they are held “prisoners of the present”. An illuminating example of the strategic and political inconsistency of this government is the instrumental use, if not exploitation, of the help of moderate European Social democratic and Progressive forces so as to gain some short of external legitimacy, when at the same time, the opportunistic coalition includes and allows voices of extremist, populist and nationalistic rhetoric to be heard without consequences, causing constantly obstacles to the function of the government. SYRIZA insists in approaching Social democrats in a way that underestimates the traditional values that kept our Alliance strong. It is our support to the people and the solidarity of the EU peoples that makes us strong. SYRIZA acts without taking under consideration nature and political constraints of any Member State’s government. We place people first and we welcome anyone that is willing to support the same values with us, and keeps away illusions and populism or any short-term strategy, that endanger the future of our children, just to stay few months more in power.
Thus, SYRIZA-ANEL is politically “insolvent”. This leads to a second critical issue. The problem becomes even greater when their political unreliability is linked with the expectation of delivery, coming from the conditions of the third Memorandum. In the coming months up to November, the Greek government has to bring to the Parliament the adjusting laws required by the treaty with the lenders. This is not so much an issue of compliance. It is an issue of willingness to proceed towards a really progressive reform of the Greek political, administrative and production structures, to make Greece more viable for those in need, more friendly to those who want to produce, more fruitful to the young people who want to create and flourish, and more stable to those who want to invest their capital. Unfortunately, the clientelistic character of both the parties of the coalition government leaves us with only few hopes. I am afraid that their need to keep their forces, will not allow them to function on an optimal, but rather suboptimal, level of reforms and administrative capacity.
The political stability in Greece depends again on the solidarity of the parliamentary opposition. This situation turns our attention to other political forces of Greece. Leaving aside the party of Golden Dawn, the main conservative party, Nea Democratia, shown that it is not ready to play a dominant, but rather a pivotal role, in the effort to keep the government in track so as not to endanger the position of Greece in the Eurozone.
What Greece needs is a positive reformist and progressive political force. The Greek Social Democrats, PASOK, were the only consistent political power in the years of the crisis and now its consistency pays off. PASOK had a triple victory. First it established itself as the most reliable and strong political party of the centre-left. It was the only party that increased its votes (18% more compared to the January elections) and gained the leading position in the Centre, accelerating its momentum with a renewal in its political staff and a convincing argumentation through the directed plan of “one political proposal every-day”. The second victory is that in a very short time it managed to re-organize its positions in the periphery of Greece by gradually re-establishing an immediate relationship with the population that used to be its main force in the last 40 years. In most of the cases, PASOK gained the third place in every peripheral prefecture. And third, after all this turbulence and distress, it showed a remarkable strength and gained the status of the most reliable representative of the Greek progressive political forces in Europe.
To conclude, I strongly believe that one of the most interesting and important periods both for Greece and its true Progressive forces has just started. The key for the Centre-Left is, first, to align its political relevance with the every-day needs of the Greek people. Second, it is time for the Progressive Centre to be united again. The fact that PASOK recovers fast while everybody else has significant losses, creates the political legitimacy necessary to play a leading role on a programme-based consolidation of the Progressive forces. And, third, this is once again, the time to show reliability and responsibility. The Centre-left of Greece in necessarily pro-European and Reformist, and will do everything necessary to support every positive policy and effort of the Greek Government toward this direction, whereas it is going to be critical and opposing to every policy that prolongs the suffering of the Greek citizens and endangers the position of Greece in the hard core of Europe.
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