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  • Editorial: Political trading

    With time impasses became apparent as did the fundamental differences between the two unsuited ruling coalition partners.

    FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, seen wearing a tie, jokes with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos before his speech at the parliamentary group of Syriza and Independent Greeks in Athens, Greece, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo

    Ever since the second election of 2015, in September, it had been noted that the partnership of Alexis Tsipras and Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos is politically unstable and odd from an aesthetic point of view. Many said that it would exacerbate the political situation and harm the country.

    It was proposed to the prime minister that he seek out new allies, preferably from kindred centre-left forces, rather than insist on the ill-suited alliance with Panos Kammenos’ national populists. The proposal seemed completely justified at the time.

    The major turn-around became known internationally as a kolotoumpa (somersault) after the PM’s self-confessed self-deceptions and illusions collapsed.

    Negotiating with Greece’s partners and creditors he realised the horrific consequences of a potential disorderly bankruptcy and opted for a painful compromise.

    Hence, he denied the “No” result in the referendum on the third bailout memorandum and clashed with the more radical elements in his party.

    In that phase he equivocated and everyone knows there were behind-the-scene negotiations with pro-Europe parties and forces.

    He did not however attempt the leap that would truly allow him to be related with the broader centre-left part of the political spectrum and dominate it as he fervently wanted and still does.

    Instead he preferred the amalgam of the unpredictable and volatile leader of the Independent Greeks, and in the process adopted absolute division and polarisation. By dividing he won some political time, but he lost everything else.

    The economy did not find the oxygen it needed and society is kept down without a model or paths to progress and politics became entrapped in populist formations, quite different than the major challenges of the contemporary, interconnected and inter-dependent world.

    With time impasses became apparent as did the fundamental differences between the two unsuited ruling coalition partners.

    One of these was expressed with the FYROM naming issue. When it appeared one year ago it established the basis of internal quests and other ongoings.

    Yet again the governing partners remained in a bear hug with their extreme opportunism and unconfessed, secret targets and purposes.

    That’s how we arrived at today’s tragicomic game of mutual blackmailing between the two governmental partners and the endless bargaining with the displaced and the willing of Greek politics, who undermine constitutional rules of the parliamentary system and degrade the functioning of representative government, as Evangelos Venizelos accurately described the situation.

    At the moment politics is being channeled towards gamblers’ practices and the system of government is slipping into an anomalous situation, comparable to the one that prevailed in the mid-1960s.

    The prime minister bears great responsibility for the methods of political trading that he implements and the extreme polarising political conditions that he creates with his actions.

    The dangers that threaten the country are great and they will become unsurpassable if transactions and political trade predominate.

    Greece right now needs a truly national plan of reconstruction and reorganisation that can mobilise the most creative forces and rally all of Greek society.

    There is no room or time for games like the ones played by a badly behaved neighbour. Both harm democracy and shake the country.

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    Helios Kiosk