Couple of points emerging from the shenanigans of last few days in Greek politics:
1. Within a week, Greece went from Papandreou’s ‘referendum/power resides with the people’ gambit to the appointment of a new prime minister that completely bypassed the usual democratic processes, plucked, as Lucas Papademos was, from teaching public policy at Harvard, and imposed on Greece without any whiff of election. But Papademos does appear to be the man Greeks want as PM, in which case his ascent indicts election as the supreme expression of democracy and exposes the (increasing) inability of democratic procedures to find the right people to direct society. Plato’s criticism of democracy is, it appears, more pertinent than ever.
2. The involvement, with four ministers, of the rightist LAOS in the new government is interesting. Just a few years ago, LAOS were pariahs, untouchable, tainted by association with the extreme right and the junta, regarded as joke figures, ultra-nationalist ranters. Now, one of those most notorious ‘ranters’, Adonis Georgiades, has been put in charge of perhaps Greece’s most important economic sector, merchant marine.
3. Despite his vitriolic and belligerent style, opposition leader Antonis Samaras is risking a lot by agreeing to this transitional government. His rival for PM has gone from the weak, unpopular Giorgos Papandreou to the ‘national saviour’ Lucas Papademos, who it might not be as easy to shift come February as Samaras thinks. What if a Papademos government manages to stabilise Greece and push through the 26 October reforms? Won’t there be a clamour for him to stay on and for general elections to be postponed? Also, we note Samaras continues to flirt with nationalism – something he’s done throughout his career – by, this time, insisting that the two ministries he wanted taken away from Pasok and put in New Democracy hands were defence and foreign affairs.