Interesting Greek election analysis
- From: Alexander Arnakis <invalid@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 05 May 2012 20:11:04 -0400
Elections: Solutions do not come easy in Greece – analysis
May 3, 2012 - 11:38am
Both major political parties in Greece were not prepared to deal with
the crisis; neither were their leaders. At the most crucial moment of
their career, Samaras and Venizelos share some common characteristics:
May 6 is going to be their first election as party leaders; both their
predecessors resigned under pressure; both are pro-Memorandum; they
are members of the elite and have both open trust issues with the
This is clearly reflected in the campaigns of the two major parties
that focused on branding techniques, putting the two politicians in
the middle of their messaging systems. As specialists in both parties
missed the opportunity to offset austerity measures by suggesting
policies that could improve every daily life of citizens, so did
campaign managers who decided to focus on ‘governmentability’ and
ignore simple solutions that citizens could keep in their minds when
they will approach the ballot box.
In this respect, current election campaigns seem to aim at the
survival of the old, presenting parties engaged in a crisis-generated
power game. They focus on party leaders, instead of issues and they
still use old tools to deal with an unprecedented situation. What’s
more, they continue to resist modernisation of party structure and
Analysing the persuasion system adopted during the pre-election
period, certain things are more than evident; for instance: bespoke
solutions for citizens’ real problems remain absent from the campaigns
of major parties; moreover, analysis of policies misses anecdotes and
case studies, and has no reference to specific results.
Campaigns tend to focus more on the need for a mandate, instead of
adopting honest and engaging approach. “Give me strength to change
everything”, says ND leader Antonis Samaras, echoing the exact wording
of George Papandreou in 2009. Furthermore, the mobilisation of voters
is still attempted through open rallies, whereas populism and
conspiracy theories thrived.
According to experienced pollsters, the situation three days before
the elections has not changed as compared with the trends explored
before the ban of the opinion polls. There are no differences in the
election trends. There is a large figure of undecided voters, around
30%, of whom only a third feel they have to choose between the two
major parties. The bulk majority is still looking for a small party to
cast their votes; and this time, their options are many.
Strong government or non-governance? Pollsters agree that the two
major parties have failed to push this dilemma to voters. ND and PASOK
need at least 38% of the cumulative vote to secure 151 seats in
Parliament. If they fail to reach this minimum, conventional thinking
says a real political crisis could follow that might lead to the
deconstruction of political parties, leadership change and a period of
turmoil. Only one opinion poll company supports this scenario so far.
In a closed session today, an experienced pollster described the
following scenario: New Democracy wins the election and Samaras is
handed the mandate; when he asks Venizelos for PASOK party’s support
to form a coalition, the Socialists veto the Samaras Premiership. Then
the mandate changes hands and Venizelos asks ND for support,
suggesting a third person from the centre-right field to lead the
government. This person’s identity could raise some interesting
speculation. All sorts of negotiations depend on the dynamics that
will be formulated by the difference between ND and PASOK and the
performance of the smaller parties.
Pollsters agree also that a third political force should emerge to
support a coalition between ND and PASOK. As an analyst put it, “one
of the most bizarre things in this election is the lack of cooperation
between Drasi (Stephanos Manos) and Democratic Alliance (Dora
Bakoyannis). If an agreement was reached, they would surely have
entered Parliament and would constitute an effective arbitrator in a
ND-PASOK government scheme, much better than the role LAOS played in
the Papademos government.
On May 6, two distinct electorate bodies in terms of age will appear
over the ballot box. 75% of people under 45 of age will vote elsewhere
but the two major parties, next to 40% of the people over the age of
50 that are expected to do the same.
This attitude more or less connotes the future of major political
parties in Greece. It is no different than that of the newspaper
readers that grow old with their favorite newspapers and when they
die, are not replaced, since the next generation is already online.
The 2-party system seems unable to survive May 6thwith dignity. Unless
they decide to change the way they practice politics.
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