The slow moving disintegration of the recently launched “Independent Greeks” party come as no real surprise since they never offered a platform that the bulk of center right voters could really back. They captured the electoral moment to win some seats in Parliament but they were a collection of little more than opportunists.
The developments unfurling in the party created by Panos Kammenos earlier this year are comically tragic but also not illogical or unexpected given the chronic pathogens and the enduring amorality of the Greek political system.
To begin with the party formed by Panos Kammenos was not built upon an ideological or political platform but exclusively on the instinct for political survival. Kammenos used to get the most votes in the voting region that envelopes Attica for conservative New Democracy but could see the problems to his reelection earlier than many other deputies that just sat tight.
He knew to whom he was appealing so instead of trying to contain loss of voting support Kammenos used his electoral client base in the biggest voting prefecture in the country to sow the seeds for a new party. This gave him a new dynamism to enter the Parliament again.
Several deputies from conservative New Democracy decided to follow Kammenos after their party leader and current PM Antonis Samaras did a policy U-turn on the Troika memorandum. It was clear to many at that stage that they would get slaughtered in the coming elections and they had few options. So they chose to follow Panos Kammenos not because they believed in him as a leader but because it was their only shot at political survival.
The same exact logic appealed to some from the socialist Pasok party, particularly the populist left wing. They also saw they had slim chances of reelection under the Pasok banner so the Independent Greeks appeared to be their only salvation. They thought Kammenos would allowed them to build upon their comfortable political career.
That is how this political patchwork party was created, without any ideological or political compass, and with Panos Kammenos who was never in fact a true leader but rather the coordinator of the whole tumultuous mess.
The Independent Greeks pulled it off during the summer elections as they rode upon the new wave of their fresh presence. That was the way it also worked for Antonis Samaras when he broke away from New Democracy in the 1990s also got into Parliament with his new party Political Spring. That was a party that was also trying to capitalize on the moment and with a single issue agenda of the Hellenism of the name Macedonia. The tangible results were that others were allowed to milk the Hellenic Telecoms Organization (OTE) with lucrative supply contracts. Eventually, they also helped pave the way for the triumphant return of Pasok founder Andreas Papandreou to the political stage.
So we don’t buy the theory that those who have broken away now from the Independent Greeks did so because they just can’t see themselves as allies of the radical left main opposition party Syriza. That is hardly a new discussion because it was ongoing during the two summer national elections and it didn’t move anyone.
We believe their move to breakaway serves the interests of current conservative Prime Minister Samaras and they have received assurances in return for their actions, because that is how we think Antonis Samaras works.
We conclude that neither Panos Kammenos or any of the deputies that left his fold are a political option for those on the right that wants an independent nation and independent Greeks.
Therefore there will be a political vacuum on the center right because this backbone of the center right doesn’t find appealing options in the far right Golden Dawn party and has been disappointed with the broken promises of New Democracy.
It is too early to say who or how many will attempt to fill this center right void but we will be watching closely.
PS: “Grecus” asks a pertinent political question in today’s article «Είμαστε όλοι Έλληνες;» (https://www.rp.gr/eimaste-oloi-ellines) It’s a good start for the beginning of a substantive discussion as what kind of policy platform such a new political option should be offering for a truly independent Greece.