The election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the leadership of New Democracy closed a cycle of pendency in the main opposition party. There is a feeling of contentment in the majority of foreign Embassies in Athens, as uncertainty is over. The election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis was well received in the capitals of Europe, as the new president’s political ideology and “style” is very close to the preferences of leaders of centre-right parties, in comparison to Vangelis Meimarakis.
The new leader of New Democracy has accepted the invitation of Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras to meet and discuss, a move that is changing the current, institutional operation of politics, and the policy of previous ND leader, Antonis Samaras.
Now, the question of what is going to change in Greece’s political scene is pending. First, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is more close to applying neoliberal practices in the economy, in comparison with Vangelis Meimarakis and Antonis Samaras. Second, by applying a neoliberal policy he will enhance Alexis Tsipras’ and his government’s popular and socially sensitive profile. Third, a consent confrontation of the country’s financial and social problems is not considered an option, since Kyriakos Mitsotakis is determined to pursue a “structural” approach against the government, in order to primarily “deconstruct” the leadership of Alexis Tsipras.
The return of the two-party system
Another element of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ election in the leadership of New Democracy is the reinstatement of the two-party system. Minor parties that entered the Parliament, following the elections of January 25th and September 20th, 2015, will probably disappear due to the expansion of SYRIZA and New Democracy. Besides, minor parties didn’t offer anything new to the political scene during the past year.
Regarding inner party matters, the election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is putting former Prime Minister and ND leader, Kostas Karamanlis, off the political scene. Karamanlis has long stayed away, much more than the political circumstances permitted. The only time he stepped in the spotlight was when he made his “YES” statement in SYRIZA’s referendum, which did not prevent the “NO” statement of the majority (60%) of the Greeks. It was a disapprobation he should seriously have taken into account. However, we have to acknowledge his valuable contribution in the efforts to confront the country’s problems, through his frequent contact with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras.
Furthermore, it should be mentioned that the task that Kyriakos Mitsotakis is undertaking is huge and quite difficult. Since 2009 and Antonis Samaras’ leadership, New Democracy has evolved into a party with no political identity, without a clear ideology and a social path. A party hostile to the middle class that had long been its political and social base. It needs a lot of effort to change that, along with creative thought, inspiration, strength, a sharp political stance and experience on political tactics. Kyriakos Mitsotakis will confront Alexis Tsipras, a very skillful opponent, not only in political tactics. This is why he is a very difficult adversary.
*Konstantinos M. Pantzios is a journalist and a political analyst
PHOTO: Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ official page