By Dimitris Bekiaris
A few months ago, in Periodista.gr we wrote about the point in time which will give rise to the popular belief that the Mitsotakis government is heading to its ultimate collapse: The moment when Kyriakos Mitsotakis will start denouncing certain interests.
The denunciation of interests is the common denominator of all the government systems of the post-Junta period, it is the missing link that connects the chain of succession of all prime ministers, and the “swan song” of every system of government. Every single prime minister, before collapsing or being overthrown, had indicted the “big” interests. Why wouldn’t they do it earlier? Maybe because they got along well with them, maybe because they were more powerful, or maybe because there was no need to do so, depending on the circumstances.
Konstantinos Mitsotakis, the father of the current Prime Minister of Greece, contributed a new word to the dictionary of political and journalistic discourse; a word, which was established and found widespread use in any discussion concerning the entanglement of political and business interests, a term which proved and still proves to be extremely useful: In the early 1990s, Konstantinos Mitsotakis denounced the so-called “diaploki” (Greek: διαπλοκή – “entanglement”).
His son, the current prime minister, has yet to denounce the entangled interests that would seek to overthrow his government. He has no reason yet, mainly because the said interests, for the time being, do not seek a change of prime minister, but also because it is still too early.
Besides, despite the criminally disastrous management of the pandemic, the financial catastrophe, and the multitude of scandals, K. Mitsotakis has to face an extremely weak SYRIZA, which – let’s be honest- is not in a position to threaten the current system of government and it will be long before it is again considered a party suitable for governing, unless… Unless decisions and initiatives are taken at the extra-institutional level, where the “deep politics” is practiced behind closed doors, where the “successors” are anointed and the decisions that concern the many are made by the few.
When Kyriakos Mitsotakis is informed that the “directorates” have convened a “council” to decide on what is about to happen, then in his address to the nation- this time not about the pandemic – he will denounce the “big” interests, just like all the past prime ministers have done so far. In the most recent example, Alexis Tsipras had denounced the rule of the media. We don’t know yet which head of the “Lernean Hydra” of “entanglement” Mitsotakis will decide to denounce.
Nevertheless, all the signs and existing information agree on the following: It will not be long before the current prime minister feels that his position is precarious, so precarious that he will be forced to drag himself to the re-negotiation table with the powerful extra-institutional players.
Powerful business interests – even some really unexpected ones – are already willing to invest in Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA. Don’t get this wrong: We are not talking about some oligarchs “going crazy” and deciding to start the process of replacing Kyriakos Mitsotakis with a “Second Time Left” government. This is not the case at all.
In the halls of “entanglement” and the local oligarchy, the regulators of the situation of our Democracy are watching with concern as the economic crisis is gripping the country, social tensions are escalating, and the sirens of political destabilization are sounding. At the same time, they see the popularity percentages of New Democracy being at high levels, while those of SYRIZA remain disappointingly low, and as a result, the current occupants of the Maximos Maximos do not feel threatened at all.
The “conspirators” of the elite are aware that even if Mitsotakis is defeated in the next election, Alexis Tsipras will not be the winner. They place the re-election of Alexis Tsipras (or, anyway, of someone from the Left or the Center-Left) somewhere between 2025 and 2027, after an interval with a technocrat prime minister.
Of course, they always keep in mind the possibility of Kyriakos Mitsotakis governing for eight years. They know that foreign political and economic centers of power are competing, each trying to implement its preferred governance model in Greece: a strong two-party system or the model of coalition governments.
But what happens until then? What happens until the aforementioned political developments are set in motion? They know that Kyriakos Mitsotakis, one of their own, a high-born politician, has his own quirks, which can manifest themselves at any time. The current government may be the political arm of the establishment, but Mitsotakis carries a “heavy name”, nevertheless. As long as he does not feel threatened by SYRIZA or any other worthy adversary, he will “cut the pie up” – he and the people close to him – the way he wants, even out of selfishness. “I am a Mitsotakis after all”, he probably thinks to himself.
Today, structured interests, well-known and powerful businessmen, are planning to support Alexis Tsipras, not in order to help him become prime minister again immediately, but to strengthen him as much as necessary in order for him to be employed as a leverage to put pressure on the current system of government. They want Mitsotakis to be strong, but not too strong. They want him to implement the agendas of the “big” interests, but only the way they define them. They want Mitsotakis to be powerful, but also a puppet on their strings.
To put it simply, they are worried that as long as Mitsotakis does not feel threatened by the official opposition, he will not be willing to succumb and will not succumb to their pressure; they are afraid that the memory of the current prime minister, regarding the help he received from the oligarchs in order to get into the Maximos Mansion, will slowly fade. To avoid misunderstandings: The “entanglement”, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis in power, is alive and kicking. The interests exist and Kyriakos Mitsotakis is definitely their exponent in the political scene, but at the same time, due to his position, role, and power, stemming from the latest election result and all the polls, he feels that he is or should be the absolute master of the game, and not the “tame bear” that dances to the rhythm of its tamer. He does not want partners.
The “bear tamers”, however, have learned only one thing so far. To be “tamers”, to “hit the drum” and make the “bear” dance. And how are they going to achieve this once again? They will eventually succeed, if they make K. Mitsotakis feel the threat of Alexis Tsipras.
They will then say to him: “If you do not grant our requests, look who’s coming!”. And when this perspective becomes a real possibility, then Mitsotakis will be in danger of colliding even with interests that strongly dislike Alexis Tsipras. The conclave that schemes these scenarios will have succeeded in killing two birds with one stone: Not only will the “conspirators” have Mitsotakis by the short hairs, but they will also have caused a rift in his alliances, which are supposed to be a tight front.
And what about Alexis Tsipras? What is Alexis Tsipras doing, or rather what should Alexis Tsipras be doing? At the current juncture, Alexis Tsipras should be cautious regarding the communication channels that he is opening with representatives of the business elite, he should try to understand the wider picture, to give priority to real strategy and not to moribund tactics, and to soberly watch what is happening in the big picture, that is, to see the forest for the trees.