By Thanassis Chimonas – journalist and author – Greek MEP candidate with “Elia”.
So we have entered in the final straight for the elections. A process that until now was seen as a friendly game, a dress rehearsal ahead of ‘normal’ elections, the national ones. Most voters flooded the beaches or they voted at random, the parties were simply “getting the message” and life went on without any more drama.
Today, things are completely different. The euro-elections are now of paramount importance. For Europe, Greece and the political “space” in which I belong, the Center-left .
First, it is known that the role of the MEP is -finally- upgraded. Under the Lisbon Treaty the European Parliament is now equivalent to the Council of Ministers while, as we know, it also elects the President of the European Commission. We must not forget that – apart from our own mistakes and those of Europe – a major reason for the leveling austerity we have undergone in recent years has been the neoliberal trend that has prevailed until now in Europe, with its main exponents the notorious “Merkozi”. It is therefore essential that the European Social Democratic Party P.E.S. prevail in EU countries and Martin Schulz to be voted president of the European Commission.
These elections have – wrongly, in my opinion – taken the form of referendum, which will determine the stability of the greek coalition government. It is a game which was started, for obvious reasons, by SYRIZA and with which the New Republic was quick to play along, hoping that the inevitable polarization will increase their wounded, after two years in power, rates. This is a big mistake, since the future of the EU (in a time of war and general insecurity) cannot be paralleled with the situation within the Greek borders. I think we need more Europe. A progressive Europe, a Europe that is united and not a Europe of two or three speed as it is today. It is therefore important, for Greek voters to choose pro-European parties and not to get stack in old dilemmas “PASOK or Right” or “Karamanlis or tanks”, which is currently found in the false dilemma “Tsipras or Samaras”.
In this elections, I have been nominated by Elia. This is an effort that began last October with the movement of “58”, of which I had the honor of being a founding member. At the time, we had considered it was necessary to create a united Center-left, an alternative and effective motion between Antonis Samaras’ folk Right and the totally irresponsible “Left” of Alexis Tsipras. Let’s not kid ourselves. The “Elia” of the 2014 elections is not the one we wanted. A unified center-left cannot only include PASOK and some small political “movements” that do not even register in the polls. Since however the DIMAR rejected our proposal we could not have acted differently. We chose to go to elections as such and on May 26 try to approach both Fotis Kouvelis’ party and the “River”, which I personally also include (even if Stavros Theodorakis insists in muddling the water) in the Center-left. This electoral showdown is very critical both for the survival of PASOK and the post-electoral credibility of “Elia”. Unfortunately, PASOK (rather than Elia) continues to be traumatized by an informal civil war with both sides “throwing oil on the fire”. Both “Venizelists” and ‘Papandreikoi” fail to understand that the historical movement founded by Andreas Papandreou 40 years ago is faced with a fight without tomorrow and that a potential sinking of “Elia” will perhaps spell its complete disappearance. In addition to that, it is at least amusing for the party, which professes the unity of the Center-left appearing itself hopelessly divided.
Nevertheless we hope that people will place their trust in us. I think we present the most attractive ballot of the elections, which includes 42 people, who in their overwhelming majority are new faces in politics, without “hard core party members” and with the lowest mean age. We said: “the vote in Elia will say a lot about the future of the Center-left in the country. But also take a look at the ballot. Read the CVs of the candidates, listen to what they have to say. You might find yourselves agreeing with them on many issues”.