Self-fulfilling prophecy

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We still don't know when the next general elections will be held, but the government will be in serious trouble whether they take place early or not, because the more speculation there is about a date, the more the Maximos Mansion loses the upper hand. The ruling New Democracy party is already split between those who want elections now and those who want them in three months' time. Their public statements are growing increasingly barbed and, in the end, the government will be dragged into elections rather than calling them.

Beyond the rift in ND, however, constant talk about elections tend to make them come faster. This is partly because the chaos of a looming pre-election campaign always makes a government susceptible to political blackmail, as it is at a weak point and makes easy prey for anyone wanting to push a particular agenda. Livestock farmers, for example, have already started blocking parts of the national road network in the hope of securing better pay. We can only expect other sectors to follow.

And it is not just unions or large social groups that are turning up the heat - the biggest pressure comes from all the small demands from the public that are still pending. There are thousands of little favors that are still waiting to be honored and, given the current climate, hundreds of members of the state machine that are willing to meet them. Many of these are people who covet a seat in parliament and feel that if they are to have any political future at all, they need to satisfy the demands of certain individuals (voters), even if it means draining funds from the organization or department where they work. This puts even more pressure on the state and makes the government's job even harder.

If people are made to believe that elections will take place at a certain time and they are not, they will think the government got spooked and this in turn will mean going to the polls early. So, it turns out that all this speculation about early polls is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

«Kathimerini» English Edition, 1.9.2009