When Should Greek Elections Be Held?

“He’s talking about October and preparing for May” was the headline in Sunday’s Kathimerini. The reference is of course to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has to choose between these dates – or one in between – for holding parliamentary elections.

The way the Constitution now reads, but also on the basis of the experiences of previous prime ministers, to be absolutely fair, Tsipras has the right to choose the time of the elections.

And of course he will choose on the basis of a single criterion: When will it ensure the best election result for himself?

And that’s where the problem lies.

The country has essentially been living in a pre-election period for some time now, with all the consequences that this entails for the economy.

He is behaving as if there is no economic crisis. As if the people are not suffering. As if the country is in a period of its history when everything is running smoothly.

Once again, a prime minister, and a party, are operating counter to the needs of the people in order to continue to stay in power.

What does this prolonged election period mean? It means that the economy is left to its fate. That decisions that must be taken, for example, about the banks and the reforms, are shifted later.

But this means that the economy is getting worse, and that the measures that will later be needed will be more difficult and painful.

It is no coincidence that the IMF again is sounding the alarm and that the EU has delayed its one billion-euro installment.

Of course, Mr. Tsipras knows that when elections are held he will lose them. This is what all polls show.

The point for him is to lose with a “manageable” difference. With a difference that will ensure his own leadership position. In the hope that he will once again be able to come back to power.

But that is the pleasant dream of a summer night. His government today has little to do with the “constituents”, or the alliances with which he ruled until recently.

Those who have remained with him, as recent events revealed, threaten him dangerously.

Moreover, and very importantly, there are no victories, successes, national struggles, that is to say, he lacks the elements from which a myth about a leader and a party can be crafted, which can be the basis for hope for new efforts and future victories. And against him he will have a strong Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Surely his 180 degree turns and the somersaults on the economy, the additional misfortunes that he has piled onto the people, the “yes to everything” on foreign policy issues, are not the ingredients for a winning recipe.

All this raises puts into focus the question of the constitutional changes that will be needed for regularly scheduled elections. It will make political life smother and better serve the interests of the country.


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