I have been trying since early morning to write a blog post about the debate between Greece’s two top political leaders, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from left-wing SYRIZA and Vangelis Meimarakis from conservative New Democracy. My efforts run in vain. It has been impossible. For the simple reason that neither Tsipras nor Meimarakis said or revealed something about their future plans if they win the elections. Not a single revelation about a plan to combat unemployment, the number one issue that troubles more than a million jobless Greeks or parents with jobless children.
The debate that took place on Monday night and was transmitted lived by all private television networks. The two leaders stood Question & Answer to seven journalists. Kind of boring, kind of bland with no salt and pepper and wit. Only exception when one leader was allowed to directly comment and intervene to the statement of the other. But these highlights were very rare in the 3-hour long session.
What I remember from the debate are two things:
- that Tsipras said he will not form a coalition government with New Democracy because a) such a coalition is “unnatural” as the two parties stand diametrically opposite and he wants a government of “progressive powers” and b) because if they cooperate the Golden Down will be raised into the main opposition party within the Parliament.
- that Meimarakis followed the old ND tactics to remind the audience what Tsipras did wrong in the 7 months he was in power.
Politically the debate did not bring much except maybe for the communication teams of Syriza and New Democracy. Some Greeks wondered what was the purpose to have it take place. A plausible explanation was that left-wing Tsipras and conservative Meimarakis wanted to persuade for their own favor the class of “undecided voters” who have not decided yet, less than a week before the elections.
I don’t know if they achieved their goal.
It was a debate without clear winners and losers. Evaluating the whole ‘duel’ one could summarize:
Tsipras did not win, it was Meimarakis who lost.
Apart from the debate, the campaigning and the hours the candidates spend on the media, the majority of voters have more or less taken their decision. And they bring SYRIZA and ND neck and neck in public opinion polls. +/- at 25%. Far-right Golden Dawn seems to have secured the 3. position.
After three 3 bailout agreements, 3 parliamentary elections and one Referendum, Greek voters are very cautious about what politicians promise them. Their vote next Sunday may have a motive of ideology or punishment but certainly not of reward.
Greek voters know very well that with or without elections, with or without a red or a blue Prime Minister, they are doomed.
PS I hope, Tsipras does not mean “progressive powers” a coalition with to Potami and PASOK… lol