Friday, April 27, 2012

Greece's main parties continue their stealth election campaign

In years gone by the visit by a party heavy weight such as ex-prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis would have involved New Democracy pulling out all the stops. It would have meant saturation media coverage, large public rallies and the kind of reception usually reserved for old school rock stars.Instead Karamanlis was met by just 100-150 of the party faithful outside a non-descript apartment block in the centre of Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki.

Neither PASOK nor New Democracy candidates can appear at outdoor venues for fear of the whole event turning into a PR debacle as angry voters jeer and pelt them with yoghurt on live TV. It's a measure of how different the political landscape has become that even those figures who were revered and worshipped just a few years ago count for nothing in the run up to the 6th May general election. Five years of recession, a failing economy and plummeting employment prospects have weakened the appeal of both PASOK and New Democracy for voters.

On Sunday, the head of the rival PASOK party, Evenagelos Venizelos will come to Thessaloniki, however, instead of choosing the central Aristotelis Square for his speech he has decided to speak at the harbour, a more defensible position and then only to carefully selected party cadres.

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