In recent days, Greek parties have announced their honorary party lists of candidates entering parliament, without the need for voters to vote for them. This applies to the first few names on the ballot and the number depends on the final rating, which the party receives.
Announcing the specific lists has always been a great event. It is even more eagerly anticipated now when the challenge to elect people capable of dealing with the problems is immense.
That is why announcing the names of the leaders in the ballots of PASOK and New Democracy has caused not only bitter smiles buts serious controversy too. And all this because the "green" chose the Olympic weightlifting champion Pyrros Dimas to head their ballot, whereas New Democracy preferred the chairman of the union of judges and prosecutors Charalambos Athanasiou. Many Greeks commented that PASOK is trying to take advantage of the success of the athlete and people's love of him. As for the New Democracy candidate, it is widely believed that the choice of a man, who actually defends the interests of a specific professional group, is not the best choice for the party.
GRReporter sought the opinion of two Greek journalists, commenting daily on developments in the country.
According to Kostas Giannakidis, from radio Best and the electronic portal Protagon, both parties’ choices are particularly symbolic. "PASOK put on top an athlete who is the greatest of all times in Greece. He has experienced many difficulties throughout his life. He was active in weightlifting, i.e. what he will be called to do now for the country. Moreover, Pyrros Dimas is a part of the Greek community from abroad. Ha has successfully survived acts of racism. So, his nomination is much more symbolic than the choice of New Democracy. It chose a judge to show thereby its quest for a constitutional state, in which there is equality between citizens and institutions work smoothly."
The journalist from Vradini newspaper Yiannis Loverdos was more explicit, "Unfortunately, this is a trend that started many years ago. It stems from the desire of parties to win votes with cheap impressions made among the people. Unfortunately, they are not sufficiently mature politically to be able to judge the politicians based on their programmes and positions. The criterion is who they are and how popular they are with the public. This is the logic, which has brought us to today's collapse. It did not come suddenly. It is the result of many actions in the past by both the parties and the citizens."
Using athletes, actors, journalists and other popular persons is not only a priority of both major parties. However, are they appropriate to address the pressing issues?
"Not long ago, I read a study describing deputies’ occupations. The majority of them are lawyers and economists. Tell me what the state of the economy, constitutional state and egalitarianism in Greece is, after such people were in parliament for so many years What I mean is that ultimately, the occupation is not that important. Furthermore, it is certain that nowadays, politics also takes place in terms of communication. It is quite natural then that the popular people and those liked by the public for their television, theatre, sports and other activities be presented more aggressively. People recognize them and vote for them if they like them," said Kostas Giannakidis.
According to Yiannis Loverdos, this practice of the parties is indicative of "how much the situation has got out of control." We learned yesterday that cooperation between Alexis Tsipras and Panos Kamenos is being prepared. I wonder what else we will hear in this country. Anyone could do anything just to win votes. We have lost the essence of politics. It is all about impressions. I realized yesterday that Nikos Markatos, who was the favourite child of the corrupt system of PASOK and had tried several times to become a deputy with the same party and failed, is now nominated by Panos Kamenos’ party and is cursing against PASOK. The continuous tangles that we are constantly seeing have nothing to do with either politics, or ideology. They are important only for the personal interests of all those involved in politics. But it is precisely these practices that are taking us to a disaster."
None of the journalists dared forecast the outcome of the elections on 6 May. Kostas Giannakidis determined the next week as "very important for how much society will realize what depends on this election. I.e. it raises the dilemma of whether the country will continue on the European road or not. If it manages to unite what we call the middle class, old traditional voters, including those of PASOK and New Democracy, then they will be able to surpass the rate of 50% or will get much closer to it at least. Thus, both parties will be able to form a government that will last for a long time. If they fail to do so, I admit quite honestly that I cannot predict what might happen."
For Yianis Loverdos the uncertainty of the outcome is related to the fact that "it is unclear what will prevail in people, when they go to the polling stations. If the need to relieve anger and "punish" the two major parties prevails, as is the situation now, the outcome will be a mosaic of many parties in parliament and lack of governance. If the need for a government prevails, even by those who bear the largest share of responsibility for today's situation, then PASOK and New Democracy will form a joint government.