What Samaras Didn’t Say at TIF: Elections

I don’ t know which country Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was referring to in his speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) the other day.

What I do sense, though, is that he is preparing the people for the possibility of early elections.

Only that explains the campaign-like promises he was making, reminiscent of the old good days, and the fierce attack on SYRIZA.

I know that he wasted a great opportunity to inform the Greek people about the historic meeting he had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just the day before, and to tell them how the Erdogan responded when Samaras told him that, “We have a real problem” regarding Cyprus.

But let’s look at things from the beginning: apparently under the pressure of the possibility of early elections, Samaras announced an important 30 percent reduction on the tax for heating oil.

Politics aside, there is no doubt that he also believes in the virtues of tax reduction. But are the country’s finances ready for that?

Is this not the return to election campaign promises that did so much damage in the past? Does this really send the right message?

Certainly not.

Clearly, however, Samaras believes this kind of action is required as a way of preparing for the upcoming elections. And that explains the fierce assault on SYRIZA, which he described as “dangerous,” even though they are the official opposition party in Parliament.

Moreover, let us not forget that he sought and brought about early elections, when he himself was the opposition leader, when the country was in a much worse situation than it is today.

PASOK, his coalition government’ s partner of diminishing influence, cannot continue to provide him with the political support he needs.

“Everything will go to waste if there are elections,” Samaras said.

And why should he not form a government with SYRIZA, which has real support among the people, as opposed to PASOK, which is dying?

In observing coverage of the Samaras-Erdogan encounter, or rather lack thereof, I am dumfounded by the media’ s general silence – Kathimerini is the only exception– regarding that phenomenon.

Almost as if nothing happened, as if the fact that the head of Turkey demanding the partition of Cyprus does not constitute an historic event.

Samaras’ reaction to Erdogan was correct, but he squandered an opportunity in Thessaloniki to tell the people about it, to convey the truth about the actual state of relations between Greece and Turkey.