Easter is over and the short pre-electoral period is well under way. Politics has been a major Greek sport for ages – literally. Soccer and tavli come second with caffe frappe taking third place. We Greeks often manage to combine all three in one and then it is a real feast.
This pre-electoral period finds Greek citizens more perplexed than usual. They all know (or at least claim that they do) that they don’t want to vote for either PASOK or New Democracy; they consider these two parties as jointly responsible for the present situation. On the other hand, with a 15% exception, that’s what’s been hapenning for a long time. After democracy we seem to have invented a new system: partitocracy. Well, not actually invented, but adopted and refined it to an art. Now, faced with more than 13 (unlucky number) parties to choose from we are at a loss. TV presenters have chat shows with more than 6 candidates: they manage to show them all by opening windows on our screens that seem to get smaller every day as the number of candidates increases.
The left wishes to govern and favours a multi party government. The possibilities are slim especially since the Communist party refuses to cooperate with any other party.
The far right has made its first steps in the political stage at last year’s local government elections and is now on the verge of acquiring the necessary 3% to enter the national Parliament.
PASOK and New Democracy are promising all the things they have not managed to accomplish since World War II.
The Greens are performing very well but their voice is not heard since the citizens are trapped in the dilemma:”Do you want a government or new elections?’ at the best and “If you don’t vote for one of the two big parties anarchy will reign” at the worst.
The present Government is playing dangerous games with the immigrants’issues and the rising criminality while unemployment is rampant.
Politicians of all colours find it difficult to hold rallies or approach the people – they are often verbally attacked and in some cases physically attacked with water bottles. So far the only injury has been to the politicians’pride but Greek society is steadily poisoned by this lack of values and seriousness.
The role of the mass media is becoming apparent even to the most naive. People avoid television like the plague. It is the social media for the youth and the coffee shops for the elderly that provide them with information.
Spring is in the air and even though money is tight the people cannot stay at home. The crisis is providing the opportunity to return to simpler and far more enjoyable forms of entertainment like card playing on the balconies, walks and chats in the street, souvlaki, beer and politics at the neighbourhood souvlatzidiko.
Could this be the profit of the crisis? That we shall re-discover our humanity? The price is high if the present immigration trend continues. But at least we shall be getting something back.