In a republic the electorate picks representatives that they believe best represent their views and entrust them, giving them latitude, if you will, to pass legislation for the nation’s good with their voters’ vision in mind. In Greece, since July 2019, the government has been led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis of New Democracy with Alexis Tsipras as the opposition’s leader. From the outset of the government’s time in office, Tsipras’ SYRIZA party has trailed by double digits in just about every single public poll that comes out. If you are a fan of New Democracy it would be hard to suppress the joy that comes every time one of those polls is released to the public domain.
However, upon a deeper dive, it is clear that such substantial margins for this long of a period are both unnatural and counterproductive. Prime Minister Mitsotakis has a wide enough majority in parliament to the point where he did not need a governing coalition partner, something a prime minister of the country has not had since PASOK’s George Papandreou (2009-2011) was the head of the government. SYRIZA as the leading party in the opposition has a very important role to play in the internal and external affairs of Greece and yet they have somehow not only managed to be obstructionist at every turn but have also opted to not live in our commonly-known reality.
SYRIZA is a collection of political misfits, some from PASOK, some far-left fringe parties – there is anything but ideological purity and one struggles to find what they believe in at all. Seeing a slumping popularity in the polls, the new tactics devised are not only reckless but they are insidious in nature. SYRIZA in the midst of a pandemic openly questions how the government has allowed Greeks to get sick and die at the clip they continue to do, while at the same time protesting anytime the government tries to do anything of sound medical reason, like mask ordinances, choosing to call such actions fascist.
Even more insidiously, at a time of real national peril where Erdogan has his back against the wall in Turkey with declining popularity, an economy that is at a standstill, and a desperate need for a distraction via military provocations with its neighbors, SYRIZA condemns the historic and necessary of Greece and France taking their defensive commitments to each other to the next level. Divisive rhetoric such as that being promoted by SYRIZA undermines Greece’s image of unity abroad, makes the country look week, and exposes how desperate they are to try to throw anything against the proverbial wall to make it stick.
Alexis Tsipras has a golden opportunity to push Prime Minister Mitsotakis to be a better prime minister with sound arguments and national unity in the face of a wanna-be sultan, but instead, as is tragically common in Modern Greek history, his incredible short-sightedness and desire to get back to the Maximos Mansion prevent him from applauding obviously nationally beneficial agreements and policies. It is truly a shame. It is a movie that as Greeks, we have seen all too many times before. May we hope that the next time Greece holds national elections the Opposition, whichever party it may be, has someone at the helm that gives Greece and the Greek people a worthy Opposition to help advance the country in a meaningful way through discourse and the original development of thoughtful policy.