Prime Minister Samaras should have avoided the political stalemate. That is what the circumstances warranted.
Instead, the small tally of 160 Members of Parliament who voted for Samaras’ Greek Presidential candidate, Stavros Dimas, place Greece on the road toward political and economic perils.
When considering that the problems facing Greece are so big, and taking into account the fact that the powers of the presidency are very small, and when the nominee for the office is so well-qualified, then there ought not be much risk of eliciting strong opposition.
But it seems, unfortunately, as many feared from the beginning, that this tragedy has to be played out until the end – whatever that may be.
We cannot completely rule out the possibility of a miracle on the third and final vote. The deus ex machina has often saved Greece since Ancient times. That is possible, but not likely. The vote gap is too large. Thus, the country will go – and quickly, to be sure – to the polls.
That, however, will not solve the problems. Based on current polling data, elections will not produce a strong government and a lot of vital time will be lost, with grave consequences for the economy.
We wish everyone would take the advice of Constantine Mitsotakis – a leader who had long warned about the suffering that was coming. He broke his lengthy silence to say that, “We have reached the point where we must look for the widest possible co-operation. Everything should be placed in the context of the interests of the country, leaving aside personal or party interests.”
We are afraid, though, that his words will not be heeded. Accordingly, everything points in the direction of elections. Even if Samaras were to put aside “personal or party interests,” SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras, who smells power, is not going to do it.
Instead, prepare for elections. This is evidenced by Tsipras’ announcements to members of his party, and the momentous interview he gave to Reuters.
In a move reminiscent of Andreas Papandreou, Tsipras sought to reassure the moderate but weary Greeks he needs to win over the authorities in Europe and investors, that regardless of what he said in the past, they have nothing to fear from his victory. The euro will stay and he will not make any unilateral moves.
His promises aside, however, Tsipras does not take into account whether the others want him. Instead, he says he is a fresh face who can achieve more for the country than what Samaras has been able to. That is a move that may reduce the pervasive distrust many feel towards him, and therefore increase his margin of victory.
This question, however, will hound him: does he believe in the great turn he has now taken, or is he simply saying those things in order to steal the votes of the citizens, so he can win the election and then implement those policies in which he really believes?