The Greek elections took place one month ago but the question remains: are we going to see any real changes in the political landscape of the country, or even more any changes in the relations between state and citizen?

The previous Greek government must have been probably the greatest failure of the Greek political system since 1974.

It was based on spin and public image, promoting the personality of a narcissistic prime minister whose understanding of political conduct was minimal and exclusively self-serving.

Mr Constantine Karamanlis, the small as he has been called, proved to be the greatest disappointment for the political elite of the country.
Unable to govern over the factions of his party, he simply abandoned all political activity for the sake of the promotion of his presumed personal virtues, (which were indeed nonexistent), by usurping the genuine need of the electorate for generational change and political continuity.

The Greeks gave him credit for being young and idealistic—and he discredited their trust by proving to be indifferent and out of touch.

Under his leadership, the country was simply left to its own devices, with the citizens struggling to come to terms with the looming world crisis, which led to disillusion and frustration expressed mainly through the student uprisings of December 2008.

Through the most cynical machinations, the government blamed the most obvious “culprit” of all Greek political folk-lore, the anarchists, whose presence became visible after they were offered by the government itself the cause for their rebellion.

Indeed one could only claim that the assassination of a rebellious youth was only the alibi for the government to show that it could govern with the might and the force of the police, at the moment that economic policy, public debt and administrative corruption were escalating to an alarming degree.

To this day Greece remains of the most corrupt countries in the world, number 47, below Tunisia, Namibia, Kuwait, South Africa and Uruguay.

In a personal note, since I was growing up in the 70s, I was listening the same mantra by all political leaders; against corruption, change, new contract with people, and so many other monumental stupidities that became the most misleading slogans of the third Greek republic.
To this day all politicians from all sides repeat the same cliches showing how infantile they want to make all political debate in the country.

I insist on the word infantile, because the constant policy of all Greek governments has been to arrest the political development of its citizens and deflect their attention from the real and urgent problems of social and civil democracy.

The ploy is quite simple and always works: It is either corruption or external threat—the Greek people are always under attack from the inside and the outside, so the government is there to protect them.

The truth however is that Greek citizens feel total and complete distrust towards the state that essentially nurtures corruption and protects those who practice it.

They are all its members and many of them, especially with the previous government, exhibited in public their wealth ostentatiously, provoking public opinion and good taste.
Yet no one has ever been brought to justice—and if I dare to predict, no one will ever be.

But the government insisted that the main enemy of public order were the one hundred anarchists who destroyed several cars in spasmodic eruptions of rage, at the moment when billions of Euros were stolen from public coffers every year with the blessings of the church and the indifference of the judiciary.

What are we to expect from the new, socialist, government? Hope never does any harm but we have to be realistic.

It is obvious that the new prime minister is more cosmopolitan, Greek-American and more open to dialogue; he has also chosen people young and untainted by allegations for his cabinet.

These are promising signs—let’s hope that they will continue.

Yet corruption is endemic in the Greek state and it is a matter of time, according to my perception, for new scandals to be revealed.

As a Greek myself I hope that the American in him will prevail and should prevail!

The Greek political establishment has failed abysmally. Greece is a country of political compromises, of arrangements on personal and party level that avert any real break from past practices and totally annul the possibility of a moderate renewal of its structures.

All governing parties prefer to cover up the scandals of previous governments with the implied belief that their own scandals will be forgotten after they lose power.

In 2011 Greece will celebrate the 30th anniversary of joining the European Union—it seems that Europe is really very far away in the horizon.

Associate Professor Vrasidas Karalis is the Chair of Modern Greek Studies Department – The University of Sydney