Opinion/A new page for Greece

Opinion/A new page for Greece

By Spiros Goutzanis

The picture of Greece’s blue-covered map comes to complete the outcome of the European elections and to confirm the great victory of ND and the corresponding defeat of SYRIZA, which is in any case overwhelming, but it is still open if it will also obtain the characteristics of a strategic defeat.

As the danger of total collapse is present, already Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has since yesterday expressed his slogan to his camp: “we are joining forces for the battle of battles, the national elections.” From Koumoundourou it is added that the national elections have different characteristics and that the dilemmas will be formulated more clearly: the citizens will be called upon to decide on the future of the country, on the prime minister, and on which program will be implemented over the next four years, the neo-liberal program of ND or the SYRIZA program that combines economic growth with the strengthening of the welfare state and the support of the weak social strata.

In this context, preparations have started for the national elections. First of all, there is the completion of the communications team with new personnel in Maximus, as those who gave the battle of the European elections are charged with wrong estimates up until the last moment. Next, this time it will not be a one-man show by Alexis Tsipras, but all the other front-line persons will also be thrown into the battle. Emphasis will be attempted to be given to the programmatic element, by specifying the measures taken and the policies envisaged for each sector. The emphasis this time will be given- and Euclid Tsakalotos already has the relevant mandates- to the next four-year program for the middle class, where they think the game has been lost. Not only because the freelancers and the small and medium-sized enterprises in Greece are numerous, but also because they have an increased role in shaping the overall social and political climate.

Of course, SYRIZA does not expect to win the election. What they are hoping for is that after the “relief” of their dissatisfaction in the European elections, and in combination with Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ neo-liberal program, the centre-left voters will be mobilized in order to “correct the outcome of the European elections”. How do they determine this correction? It is still early for numerical estimations, but the aim in any case is to keep the forces of SYRIZA, to exceed 25% and to close the gap with ND as much as possible. SYRIZA must remain the main player of the second pole in the new bipartisanship that is forming.

ND: The goal is το achieve a majority in Parliament

In ND things are completely different. Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the great winner and the undisputed leader of the right wing. Mr. Mitsotakis won the two elections, having opened his agenda, and if he succeeds in the national elections, he will have the democratic legitimacy and the green light to implement the controversial on certain points program, which is based on limiting the public sector and the corresponding entry of private individuals, even in taboo areas of the welfare state, on enhancing entrepreneurship and adapting workers and employers to 24/7 working hours by further elasticizing labour. Of course he will emphasize the law and order agenda, while under question is to what extent will the judicial prosecutions of SYRIZA executives reach. Will they stay on Pavlos Polakis, which is considered a certainty, or will they will reach the Prime Minister, as Antonis Samaras and Adonis Georgiadis are demanding.

In his appearances after the European elections, Kyriakos Mitsotakis takes care to highlight the leading and “prime ministerial” elements and reassure moderate voters. What ND has to do is follow the tide that has been created, and not scare the voters that are still cautious.

The aim for Kyriakos Mitsotakis is now achieving parliamentary majority, which seems feasible, although he has stated that he will seek the greatest possible consensus. A parallel goal for the ND president is to elect as many of his own MPs as possible in the party’s parliamentary group. Up to now the majority of them belong to Karamanlis and Samaras. Mr. Mitsotakis did not succeed in this in the European elections- his only MEP is Stelios Kumpouropoulos- but in the national parliament ND will increase its power by 60 to 80 seats and the margins are much bigger. Apart from the fact that party control is an end in itself for any leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants a friendly parliamentary group, in order to implement his program that has strong neo-liberal elements.

In any case, the country is turning a page, as for the first time in government there will be a neo-liberal leadership group, while the opposition will begin the processes for redefining the centre-left, that reaches even the open question- will Alexis Tsipras simply change SYRIZA or will he create a new party./ibna