SYRIZA’s attrition and New Democracy’s opportunity
Recent public opinion polls show that SYRIZA and New Democracy are nearly tied, despite the latter experiencing an…
Recent public opinion polls show that SYRIZA and New Democracy are nearly tied, despite the latter experiencing an internal crisis and faces uncertainty from today’s leadership election.
This poll reveals the attrition the governing party has suffered, which for many is profound and indicative of the collapse of hopes that Mr. Tsipras brought to Greek society about a year ago. It would be a mistake, however, to focus on the attrition after September. SYRIZA won the elections in January with expectations and hopes that were artificially cultivated in Greek society. The people were disappointed by the previous governments and lightheartedly chose for change, embracing the anti-bailout rhetoric that promised the moon. In the first three months of the pointless, so-called heroic, speeches and “Varoufakian” “resistance” against the creditors and partners, a climate of euphoria dominated. By the end of March the approval rating of the first Tsipras government soared to the skies.
The decline began soon after when it became clear that the battles were fruitless and the country was truly faced with the prospect of being expelled from the euro zone. The referendum set a new dilemma and the people chose to vote with their heart, since they could not deny the choice they made in January.
The attrition and doubts had already began though. The elections that followed in September once again set a new dilemma and the voters made their choice unable to evaluate the decisions and commitments that were assumed in the dramatic summit meeting in the summer. After the elections took place, the retreats and new bailout came to light, the previous doubts were fueled and the attrition was revealed.
The people have not heard a straight talk since the elections. The goal for the next day was never clearly presented. The people wanted confirmation of hope. They expected to see a clear exit plan from the crisis.
Instead, the government was quick to promise new negotiations, parallel programs to substitute the bailout and other unrealistic pledges that were shot down in no time.
That is more or less how we have arrived at the current estimation of the polling companies, where the two parties are tied, even in such a problematic period for the main opposition party.
The fact that New Democracy is enduring, despite not having a leader, cannot go unnoticed. It is obvious that we are going through a period of long wait and reshuffling. That is why today’s elections in New Democracy are so important.
If the main opposition party elects a decent leader, remains united and comes up with an honest and clear exit plan from the crisis, then it has a lot to look forward to.
And of course, the political developments will be expedited.
Originally published in the Sunday print edition