, ,


I am very happy with myself you know…

Antonis Samaras, Greek Prime minister at the time of writing, can argue that he is the most successful Greek PM at least of the last 40 years. The argument for this could have been quite simple; He has not been overthrown yet. But, there is more. Greek PMs have a great advantage over counterparts of other democratic countries. They get elected without any commitment, any aim and any possibility to fail. There is effectively no manifesto, no target that they can miss and no “broken” promise to which they can be held accountable. Samaras promised nothing, his only ‘unique selling point’ was that he, as the leader of a relative* majority party and therefore first to try to form a government, was necessary to avoid the total destruction, annihilation, default of Greece. So, really, the only thing that would have made him a failure, would have been the country officially ceasing to exist. This has not happened. Officially the country has not gone into default, destruction, Hollywood blockbuster state before Bruce Willis saves it, and we know that mainly because it still taxes some of its own people in very imaginative ways. I am sure there must be some other evidence that the country still exists, but I have not come across it personally. So, Samaras has succeeded 100% at the objective that he was elected to achieve. I avoid using the phrase “he was voted to achieve” because of course he wasn’t. That, I argue, makes him even more successful than his predecessors who were, of course, equally pointless.

*29.66% of the popular vote. This does not correspond to seats in parliament. The party that gets the most votes gets an extra 50 seats than strict proportionality to percentage of total vote would allocate (out of a total of 300 and needing 151 for an overall majority), depending on some conditions. Only votes for parties that get over 3% count in the distribution of seats. The remainder of the votes are ‘discounted’. A month earlier, in the May 2012 elections, Samaras’ party got 19% of the total popular vote. So, the party that got 19% of the vote in May 2012 ended up leading a coalition government a month later. Overall, the 3 parties included in the government coalition formed after June 2012 received fewer votes than the other parties.