Loss of political capital has been the predominant fear of the parties in power amidst reforms. That fear continues to dominate politics in Greece today.
It is not about the necessary weighing of costs and rewards against political risk, which is a natural process in any competitive, democratic and parliamentary regime. In the case of Greek reforms, the phenomenon is completely interwoven with bipartisanship and electoral law, which in every electoral face-off would be cut and sewn to the measurements of the two "gladiators." This naturally leads to extreme polarization; a black & white mentality; fanaticism and the filtering out of calm, caution and moderation. It is a culture of extreme, hostile opposition that is foreign to the democratic culture of dialogue, consent, compromise and cooperation.
An ideological link to this system was, and remains to be, populism reminiscent of Latin America, with a mixture of past political slogans, such as "EU and NATO are the same syndicate" and "Tsovola give it all" from the chief-centric Andreas Papandreou period to the anti-referendum political fraud and third-world fantasies of the "radical left."
The meeting and coming together of populism with radical nationalism created an explosive and dangerous mixture: from the nationalist hysteria about the naming of a neighboring country to the nationalist Left and Right uproar during the anti-referendum period and the complete communication storm of SYRIZA-ANEL.
That dangerous mixture was the biggest enemy of the reforms, reforms we should have put into action everywhere decades ago. Because organized corporate interests in the public and private sector found refuge and protection in the opposing party seeking power, everyone had a convenient political alibi. So, the reforms it would take to push the country forward never gained enough political and social support. Leading the vicious cycle to continue to the country's bankruptcy.
The pseudonymously "radical left" of Mr. Tsipras walked the same tracks of this system. His tragicomic government didn't just bring worse evils to the country but also gave excellent examples of love of power, unbridled partisanship, nepotism, patronage and ineptitude. This government maintains a shameful silence on the electoral law against which it used to unleash shrapnel as opposition for reasons of "principle," and for which "principle" it now couldn't give less of an old party damn. Today, the same pathogens are recycled as if we were taught nothing by this seven year, multi-dimensional crisis. The arrogance of those in power wins out. The political system reproduces without any substantial change, even though all take oaths to the opposite.
Cooperative governments that came about in the last years have been a product of necessity and political arithmetic, not of conviction of better government and consent to a nation-wide understanding to get through the evident national dead ends. That's why there's no room for any more lies, promises, avoidance of responsibilities, inexactitudes, illusions and self-delusions of a "second chance." We have submitted as a sum of citizens next to no effort for the truth, and so we accept the first grifter that sweet talks and promises a lot.
What I find highly hypocritical is the obvious, and strictly out of the serendipitous necessity, accession of the parties that are both eyeing the election's top spot into imagined cooperative governments. Either way they will not be authentic, even though they would be legal. They would be based on a bastardized electoral law and the forged majority of the winning party with the shameful premium of 50 seats.
So, the change of the electoral system, reform of the political system, public administration and the public sector in general are the "touchstones" of all reforms and should be the inviolable "red lines" for any possible shareholding or corporate support of cooperative governments on behalf of the smaller pro-European parties.
To Potami (The River political party) insists that any effort would be in vain if any shape of cooperative government that may come about from the upcoming election at the citizens' orders does not only bring together the parliamentary majority but also reflects the wider social representation and support. The only guarantee for the effective enforcement of reforms is the pure sharing of political cost that is safeguarded by authentic, honest and steady cooperative governments that come of a steady, analogous electoral system. Only government sworn to the service of the social whole and the public interest can free us from the pathogens of the past for which we've paid so high a price.
This post first appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.