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The crisis in Cyprus has established New Democracy as a driving force

27 May 2013 / 19:05:26  GRReporter
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I am not against such a possibility as long as these formations can unite people around them because it is impossible for every politician with a past in PASOK to be willing to create his own party in times of crisis. My opinion is that if they are able to work together, they will create a new main body of the left wing.

So, do you mean that you see PASOK dying as a party in its present form?

No, I do not think that this will happen. However, it is quite possible that structural changes could take place and for the party to change its name to incorporate the centre-left space. Perhaps this formation will be very different from what PASOK was in the period 2009-2010.

Do you think that the present leadership of the party is able to accomplish this?

I think that whatever the leadership of PASOK is, the burden on the party resulting from its choice to request assistance from the International Monetary Fund is so great that I do not think anything could be different. I do not think it is a matter of people, but of the policies which have been applied over the past three years and there is a reason for the citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the party. My opinion is that this is more to do with Greece's exit from the crisis rather than with person-oriented policies.

Today, the leaders of the ruling coalition met to discuss the probability of voting on or withdrawing the bill against racism. There are many differences between New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left and racism is a very serious problem. Do you think that it is the most important issue right now since we see it almost threatening the unity of the government?

I think that over the past ten months, the government partners have experienced much more severe crises and managed to overcome them. I mean the budget cuts, which were adopted in October and November last year. I do not think that the unity of the coalition government is threatened now, despite the differences. These are three different parties and it is normal for differences to exist.

On the other hand, I still believe that the main way in which we can deal with racism is the preventive measures related to the social policy of the government.

The bill contains numerous steps in the right direction. But in times of crisis, such measures could give rise to severe reactions and this is something that scares me. Even if the bill is passed and if some of the measures contained therein are implemented, we cannot be sure how the voters will react at the next elections or whether Golden Dawn will decide to change its name. The problem should be eradicated, although the bill provides for many correct measures.

The congress of the liberal Drassi party was held over the weekend. The general impression is that the forces of reform find it difficult to create a common front. What should they do in order for their voice to reach a critical number of voters?

This would be very useful but the results of last year’s double elections are not encouraging for them. I think that the main reason why they are unable to attract a large number of supporters is the large number of small parties. If they could work together, obviously the result would be very different. In May 2012, 3-4 parties with almost identical platforms participated in the elections and none was able to enter parliament. If their leaders were able to step back and not care so much about the leadership positions in their parties and to achieve mutual cooperation, then they would be able to create a reformist formation, which could attract a large number of supporters. However, I do not think that this is possible under today's conditions.

How do you think that the situation in Greece will develop?

I think we are currently in a period of calm, especially after the return of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras from his visit to China. However, according to some commentators, this is not due so much to the progress of Greece but to the fact that Germany is trying to create an atmosphere of calmness in the markets in view of the elections in the country in October.

The big question now is whether this is indeed so or whether Germany is changing the course to granting the policy of budget cuts. In recent days, the international press, as in, for example, yesterday's interview with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, has indicated the need for a new policy. For the moment, however, it would be too hasty to draw any conclusions and we should wait until the elections in Germany in October.

Tags: PoliticsNew DemocracySYRIZAPASOKPollsGeorge TzogopoulosELIAMEP
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