Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Out with the old, in with New Democracy

Who/What is New Democracy? Ι start with these guys because they are the governing party and it seems fair that they go first.

New Democracy is the leading conservative party of Greece formed in 1974 by Constantine Karamanlis. He ran on a platform of 'Its either me or Dictatorship', needless to say, he won. It would be a more modern and progressive party than the previous right-wing parties that had gone before. This task was made difficult in that many right-wing politicians from other parties, joined him. As a result the current New Democracy party is formed of an amalgam of right wing ideas and people. You can find former Nazi-Military Dictatorship types as members, people who support the power of the Church in policy making, Pro-King and Anti-King, Free-marketeers, and those who believe that large enterprises should only be run by the government.

The party is now led by the founders Nephew, Constantine Karamanlis. (Greek politics are a family affair, more on that later) As far as policies are concerned, ND is not similar to the Tories of the UK, the Republicans of the USA or the Liberals of Australia, but more akin to the Christian Democrats of Italy prior to Berlusconi. It believes in a Paternalistic government which has a role to play in the economy. This is why it has not liberalised the market or made business any easier for entrepreneurs. It does have a platform of small government but since being elected it has gone on a recruitment binge increasing the size of the civil service, most of whom are 'administrative'. In other words only a few of those do 'actual' work like nurses, doctors, police or ditch diggers.

Despite their slogan 'Power in change' (if i translate correct) more than anything they represent the status quo. 'We will provide jobs to everybody' and 'continue farming the way you always have and we will subsidise you' is what they are saying. They represent a comfortable Greece. No fundamental restructuring of Greece's economy has been implemented by this party even though, one would imagine that being its domain.
That said it has made some courageous decisions. It has appointed a reformer to the head of OTE, one who is actually implementing reforms much to the chagrin of ALL employees, unfortunately change is not happening fast enough to please reformers, nor is it happening across the board in ALL public sectors (eg Olympic airways, other public utilities etc.) It has also tried reforming (more like tweaking) the education system and curriculum.

So which is true you ask how can it be a reformer and for the staus quo? Well its reforms are limited and on the edges, they are not bold and drastic. And bold and drastic changes ARE needed especially if the pension funds are to be saved. These changes have not been forthcoming. I also get the impression that the government is itself embarrassed by these reforms they have made and are distancing themselves from them instead of hoisting them up as an example.

As of this post ND has a lead on the leading opopsition party PASOK of at least 3 percentage points making this party the likely winner. If it does win, there is not much hope that they will make the reforms needed in agriculture, environment, public spending, health, education etc etc, and why should they if the public do not realise the need for change and we can get by the way we always have?


Unknown said...

Hello m8! Well I agree with some parts you're writing, but I also disagree with some others. I personally believe that the truth is somewhere between...

Vassili - Mike said...

Ehhh haaaa. Like which and what?

Bubble said...

Great blog. It's a shame the parties here lack the will or courage to challenge the vested interests and push reforms through. The country seems to be hampered by indifference and apathy

Vassili - Mike said...

Bubble: Yes it is a shame about the parties, but can you help me understand. What about the people, are they so dissilusioned that they dont believe it can change?

Kat said...

There's a saying that goes, "Why doesn't the dog stop laying on top of the rusty nail? He's used to the pain."

To many, a perceived "safety" is best -- it's comfortable and known. They know that Greece needs reform and change, but they're afraid of it and the criticism that inevitably follows -- it's unknown, uncomfortable and unfamiliar. They'd rather whine about Ellada, than admit their own responsibility for what she's become.

This country will never realize it's greatness without real reform and that's the saddest thing of all. said...

Ciao Vassili,

I'm asking you a pleasure,

Next up on the calendar is Greece, for the month of August.

I especially need Greek links - I have almost no Greek Counterjihad sites on my list.

Ωσ Εδω!

Please, be so kind and write to Gates of Vienna

Many thanks, any way.

ps. Vassili, christian democrats are in the UDC of Ferdinando Casini, not in Silvio's Forza Italia , a central moderate party (but both in PPE in EU, the same of Mr. Karamanlis).