Antypas Karipoglou is the new chairman of Drassi, following the resignation of its founder Stefanos Manos. In an interview for GRReporter he analyzed the election results, criticized the radical Left and said that what divides Greek society is the desire for change and the persistence of the supporters of the old and vicious pattern.
Mr. Karipoglоu how do you explain the election results?
After the first elections, the attempts to form a government failed because New Democracy and PASOK had a big decrease in electoral percentage. The explanation for this is that on 6 May people voted more guided by anger and frustration with the situation in the country and i8n this way they punished the two ruling parties.
I don't think that the outcome of the second elections on 17 June is representative of the actual political situation in the country. Many voters, from both political spaces, voted without being supporters of specific parties. For example, New Democracy achieved a 10 per cent increase, which came from people who were afraid of the possibility of the country's government passing into the hands of SYRIZA. On the other hand, the radical Left was also supported by people who wanted to remove the memorandum and believed that only this party was able to do it. This way SYRIZA received the votes of traditional voters of the Communist Party, PASOK and, as a whole, of various opponents of the memorandum.
What matters is that today we have a government with broad parliamentary support, and it represents the majority of pro-European voters. At least in words. They want Greece to stay in the eurozone and the European Union, and we are all expecting to see what the government will do. At the level of statements, a lot of the things are good and we agree with them. We support the government because the country isn't able to cope with the situation, which will follow if this cabinet fails. This will lead to Greece's exit from the eurozone and what worries me the most is that this cannot happen without leaving the European structures as well.
How long do you think the governing coalition will last?
Theoretically, and according to the constitution, the coalition should govern until 2016. Whether or not it is able to deal with the basic problem, which allows no delay, will soon become clear, simply because the problems must be solved immediately. Greece is threatened by bankruptcy in about a month, and the danger is very real, ff the government fails to address several key issue.
On the other hand change of governments happens not only by elections. It is also possible for the Parliament itself to change the government, as happened a few months ago with PASOK's government and the setting up of Lucas Papadimos's cabinet.
It is very difficult to predict anything at all. The most important thing is how we will manage to solve the problem by the end of the year, because now it is very serious. Either the government will do what is needed to put things in the proper order, or it will suffer such a great setback, which I don't think any government can withstand. I mean, if the country goes bankrupt social peace and even democracy will be threatened. I don't mean changes in state administration, the country simply won't be able to function, if every day the streets are full of protesters, some of whom cause massive unrest and violence. I think if the country goes bankrupt, there is no way to avoid this.
According to analysts, no matter which of the two scenarios prevails, Alexis Tsipras will be the next Greek Prime Minister. What is your opinion?
As I have already said, it is very difficult to predict anything, but this is probably true. If this government fails, we believe this will be a failure of the policy, widely called "policy of the memorandum". We think that the only appropriate policy is this: reforms, profound changes, major cuts in government spending, a drastic reduction of the public sector. These all are things which the government isn't doing. I.e., in theory we have a memorandum, but we don't meet our obligations according to it, people are struggling in their daily lives and because they do not see any hope on the horizon, they declare themselves against the memorandum. For example, today it was announced that there will be a new cut in pensions, which was not foreseen either by the first memorandum or by the Medium term. The government is doing it, because it hasn't made a single reform.
The majority of people, however, doesn't see things this way. They will say that the country is applying the policy of the memorandum. And if it drives us to bankruptcy, to the need to leave the eurozone, or at least to more difficult economic conditions and to a further reduction in living standards, this will automatically mean that Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA have been right.
At present, the radical left has the great advantage of the fact that its proposal was not implemented in practice. If people become disappointed by what they are seeing now, they will be ill disposed towards all who support the "memorandum policy" and will support a proposal such as: "we will blackmail Europeans, we will return to the drachma" and other similar things.
Therefore it is very important for us for the government to succeed and to create a united front with which to oppose to SYRIZA. Otherwise, this party will grow even further. Not with people who support it ideologically, but with all the angry and dissatisfied citizens.
In which part of the political centre is Drasi and what distinguishes it from other parties?