September 26, 2015

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SPECIAL REPORT - Why Greece needs Costas Karamanlis to rise to the occasion once more!

We kick off a new news year at a time when PASOK, which now calls itself SYRIZA, begins governing Greece for the seventh time, while the refugee crisis is at its height and austerity has without a doubt impoverished one third of the Greek population. In all this chaos, there is no opposition because the conservatives -who lost to the SYRIZA party on September 20th- are seeking to settle scores. Why should we care? Well, the developments in ND do not just affect the party voters and officers, but all of political life as we know it because the role of the main opposition is crucial for democracy, since it monitors the government. Without a doubt, Greece faces some daunting challenges in the months to come, which will require all of our attention and support, and in all this uncertainty there is one thing missing, someone to give this nation some hope. A natural born leader.

Marina Spanos

Some may be scratching their heads especially after Alexis Tsipras' grand win -for the second time- a couple of days ago, but we all know that he is not a natural born leader. The reasons are clear. Groups like SYRIZA employ radical-sounding or Marxist phraseology, and only do so to cover for right-wing policies and a defense of the capitalist system. In other words, he is nothing more than a pseudo version of the late Andreas Papandreou and the PASOK party. Tsipras shot to fame when the SYRIZA party, which in all reality was nothing more than a desperate alliance of leftist factions, finished second to the conservative party in the elections in 2012 at the height of the Greek crisis. This was a time when there was great fear that Greece's economy would crash out of the euro and Tsipras rose to fame because he lied to voters by telling them that he would tear up the country’s “barbarous” bailout agreement and impose a harsh “wealth” tax to fund the budget. Today he is taxing the poor as much as the wealthy and has not only signed a third bailout agreement, but his win has also strengthened all of the old PASOK forces (unions, etc.)

Only those who are blind (or have clear interests) refuse to see that his words were nothing but cr**p. Unfortunately the people of this country were fooled once again. 

(After all how else would PASOK continue to rule this country e?)

HellasFrappe had predicted -and warned all of you of this- this months ago, when it discovered Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis' fondness for Alexis. We had presented her ties to George Papandreou and questioned her sudden support for Alexis. We have also presented Tsipras affiliation with the Brookings Institute -a think tank that had also become second home for good old GAP-. We all know that this institute is mostly funded by the Soros foundation so it was no surprise to us that Gianna got Alexis a prime seat at an event in New York on Sunday which is hosted by none other than the Clintons. The discussion, claim reports, is going to focus on boosting growth in Greece and southeastern Europe and will take place in the context of the annual conference of the Clinton Global Initiative, a venture of former US president Bill Clinton. Think about it. A self-proclaimed Marxist in the heart of global investment. It sounds like a joke!

So how can we rid ourselves of all these pseudo leaders and allow real statesmen to govern this country?  Well we need to once again become inspired as a society but in order to do so a natural born leader must rise that will prevail over partisan and personal agendas. He must be someone who will fully embrace the power of the head of this country and be the visionary that we all need.

After all, Tsipras was so terrible in his first round of government that today he is not running the country. Don't take my word for it, even the Guardian stated this several days ago. The British newspaper released an article where it mentions that the person who will be responsible for the governance of Greece is expected to be Maarten Verwey, a senior civil servant at the Dutch finance ministry who joined the commission in 2011 and led its Cyprus assistance program. His powers are unprecedented, Guardian says, adding that if Greek people have heard about his name, then they know that their vote will made a very small difference on September 20th to what happens next. Why is this happening? It is simple, Europe is prepared to keep Greece’s new leader in line so as to implement the reforms agreed.

Back to our dilemma, and beyond the given responsibilities of politicians and parties, Greece really needs to be governed with stability, consequence and coordination.  Is it Vangelis Meimarakis? Well, Meimarakis was good as a leader for the conservatives, but he is not a visionary and therefore cannot lead the nation he does not have leadership potential. 

(There is a fine line between leading a party, and leading a nation)

I personally bow my hat to him in unifying the ND party because at the start of the electoral campaign everyone thought he was the clear loser, however, as the polls closed he threatened to topple the mighty Tsipras from his throne. He also was successful in bringing something else to the forefront. Meimarakis proved that the center-right party is deeply rooted in society and is the only political force that has the ability to reform, in spite of its unfortunate feudal composition.

Some slam the conservatives for the decisions they made, but you have to give credit to ND for not falling apart like PASOK did (which today presents itself as SYRIZA, To Potami, Elia, and even PASOK). On the contrary, the conservatives found the strength to stand and convince all concerned that they are the only guarantors of Greece’s European course.


The answer is simple: Costas Karamanlis!

Why is Costas Karamanlis such a commodity, and how did this statesman keep ND together? Frappers, the answer is obvious, he has the ability to unite and not to divide, that is why.

But in order to get a better understanding of this exceptionalism, I decided to publish some excerpts from the first article that was published on this blog which more or less explains why there are scores of us who want him to rise again from the ashes and take hold of the conservative party and the nation.

Greece needs a natural-born leader, which is something that we do not have. As popular as Tsipras is for a minority of people he is not a visionary.

(Minority meaning that there was a 40percent absent vote at the recent national elections).

Leadership requires a climate of trust where people give you their wholehearted commitment and that is why this writer is, and will always be, committed to Karamanlis' vision.

Let me explain: There is an old school of thought that says the course of human history is charted by “great men:” Heads of church and state, generals and business magnates whose individual qualities of vision, courage, and charisma are so powerful that they shape the fate of nations and economies. Costas Karamanlis, former Greek prime minister (2004-2009) was one such leader.  His family is one of the two most powerful political dynasties in the country and his uncle, Constantine Karamanlis, is a towering figure of Modern Greek history. Constantine was prime minister from 1955 to 1963 and 1974 to 1980. Between the late 60s and early 1970s, he went into self-imposed exile in Paris after a military junta took power in Greece. He returned amid high drama to restore Greek democracy and established the New Democracy Party as a moderate umbrella organisation of right-of-centre groups.

While his uncle, a schoolmaster's son, was known to have an austere personality, Costas Karamanlis was depicted as a more easy-going, charismatic, affable figure, with a love of soccer.Educated in the US and Athens, Costas Karamanlis rose through the party ranks from his student days in the 1980s and emerged as the last-minute surprise winner during a leadership challenge following the conservative right-wing New Democracy party's 1996 election defeat and became Greece’s youngest political leader in history.

When he first rose to power some analysts criticized the move, but in the years as party leader, Costas Karamanlis secured a grip on his notoriously undisciplined party and provided the Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis’ socialist party (that was in power at the time) with some of the toughest opposition they faced since the 1980s. Voters were immediately captivated by his clear sense of purpose, for he brought hope a renewed commitment, work ethics and impeccable VALUES back into to the political scene.

Aided by the unpopularity of the incumbent PASOK government led by Costas Simitis (a party that had been in power between 1981—1989 and from 1993—2004) and with charismatic Karamanlis at the wheel, the New Democracy party defeated the PASOK Socialists in the spring of 2004 just before the Olympic Games. He was re-elected in office in 2007. In 2009, and after losing to the socialists, he announced his resignation from the head of the conservative party. He was succeeded by Antonis Samaras. After he left office, many in Greece continued to blame him and the New Democracy party for economic difficulties, and till this day he continues to take blows from his opponents.

Why would so many turn their backs on such a great visionary you ask? Simple he was too great of a leader for a country so deeply rooted in corruption, that the very thought of an honest man was too good to be true... that is why.

I am deeply convinced that Karamanlis is a man that leads by example and that is what his opponents eventually used against him to weaken his popularity with us the people.Honesty and integrity were and still are the vital ingredients that signal him out from all other leaders before and after him, with an exception of course of his late uncle who was also a great leader.

Karamanlis had courage, let us not forget the veto his government imposed on FYROM’s (Skopje) accession to NATO. His stance on the Cyprus issue and his support of Papadopoulos' decision can only be characterized as patriotic.

His only sin was that he wanted to place Greece on the energy map, by allowing several pipelines to run through our boarders. These pipelines, as we all know, did not fit the purposes and/or interests of many western nations and by upsetting the scene he unwillingly created enemies for himself. He also expanded Greece's relations with Russia and this -as we all know today- upset the some of our allies so much that they even attempted to assassinate him.

Some claim that he looked for a reason to escape, leaving us to our fate. These same people forget that they tilted their support to George Papandreou and the Memorandums instead of listening to Karamanlis warnings in 2009. He was not intimidated by what our allies thought, and most importantly he never once thought of holding on to power, he only worked for the people.

In the course of history such personalities -or visionaries- are not well liked in the political fora. Take John F. Kennedy for example. He went against the system and became a victim by it. Karamanlis is one more such case.Successful or not in his government, liked, or not liked by his supporters and foes, no one can deny that he is the only most effective and profound leader that this country has today.

The reason we know this is because we know he was committed to worthwhile results and governed himself and the people of this country with those results in mind. It was this orientation that pushed him to be creative in solving problems, to subordinate their lesser motives and to persist in the face of obstacles and it was this commitment that eventually led to his downfall.

Till this day, his opponents still fear him, and have the audacity to criticise his decisions while in government. Even though evidence has surfaced that prove all of this to be untrue, they still attempt to discredit him. Some may ask, why so much criticism? The answer is simple dear Frappers: When he speaks he has greater public approval than that of almost all his predecessors and successors and that generates fear in his opponents who thirst for political power.

In fact he still has an almost worshipful attitude by many Greeks and this magic has largely to do with public desire for a heroic, inspiring leaders such as himself.

On a personal level, I admired him most for his sense of humour and his ability to speak directly to an audience. Karamanlis’ charisma and charm motivated many Greek people, such as me, who never had a sense of Greek politics, to be the best they could be for their country, and I personally thank him for this.

He has kept silent since his resignation as party leader, and I guess in some way it has given ammunition to his opponents to hit him even harder. Those who never stopped believing in him -or the Karamanlikoi supporters- know by instinct that this silence is his weapon to expose all his opponents, and in some way -the system-, that so unfairly hit at him for the past decade.

I also believe that in his last speech, just before the 2009 general elections, he indirectly warned us of the things to come... as well as left it to be understood that when push comes to shove that he will rise to the occasion again.

With so much chaos and uncertainty ailing our country, has that day arrived? This I cannot answer, but the only thing I can say is that Greece needs and thirsts for leaders such as himself. We need someone with a deep understanding of the country's problems, who has managed state affairs at the highest level and is in a position to converse abroad and to demand the respect of political leaders. Based on all of the above, only Costas Karamanlis can fit this role. Tsipras cannot. He has lost the respect of the international community. It is time to stop settling for less in this country because there is no room for mediocrities and indifferent non-political figures.

We need a man with a vision that works to resolve and heal the wounds of this obviously divided nation. (We saw this manifest at the recent referendum, slamming those who believed that the civil had ended in Greece.) A leader that honestly loves Greece and most importantly has the ability to give us the people some hope again.

Only Karamanlis can fill this role. It is his destiny.

So in the upcoming leadership convention, the conservatives, who have contributed greatly towards stabilizing democracy in this country, need to think long and hard and turn their backs on those seeking their five minutes of fame.

That is why I firmly believe that there can only be one visionary and this natural born leader's name is  Costas Karamanlis, everyone else is a pseudo version of Tsipras.

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