Oh well, the president has appointed his cabinet! The favoured few… not much we can do… His personal choice, his personal taste and yes, why not, possibly suggestions made by his inner circle, his in-laws, his best friends and the parties that supported him via give and take. We are told that’s how the universe works. From the moment the referee blew the final whistle, signaling Nikos Christodoulides received 51.97 per cent of the vote, he got the go-ahead to choose his team, igniting the inevitable debate.
But regardless of whatever joy or satisfaction, resentment, indignation, grumbling and despair his choices may have caused to the not inconsiderable 48.3 per cent who did not vote for him in the first place, to the void, blank and null ballots, abstainers, women, artists and others who he promised to represent before and after the election, the fact remains that he and his government are here to stay for the next five years. Like it or not, this is it.
Let’s keep that in mind, then. They are who they are. They will be exposing themselves on a daily basis and will be scrutinised. And even if we fail to hold them accountable, rest assured that history will. Therefore, since their “we plan to be here for a decade” approach is pretty much digested, what is really left to us is a challenge: we are the ones who should expect them to deliver. This is where the public opinion watchdog should stand and nowhere else – their work.
But who are “we”? Or rather, what kind of people are we? We all talk about the endless lack of accountability. However, how do we react to policies being left in drawers, to projects not progressing, to promises not being kept, to commitments turning out to be jokes? As long as both governments and problematic opposition are exposed, we – the voters – are equally exposed if our demands as beneficiaries, and our desires as citizens are exhausted in the executive snippets of the blah-blah that we set up in the jungle of social media.
These days, every Twitter pundit, every mediocre Instagram influencer, every bitter individual and every robot are discussing the new government in the exact same style that I’m afraid is identical to what we’ve seen before. We are preoccupied with their slip-ups, their initial statements, their age, their profile, the rumours that have surrounded them over time, the behind-the-scenes workings of their appointment. We express our innermost thoughts and then go to bed with the bitter taste of an unbearable daily routine.
The public’s superficial attitude towards politics as well as the system itself, both nurtured and retained, government term after government term are equally guilty of the situation, and they provide a perfect excuse for those who decide to do as they please. Let’s not fool ourselves, we are the ones suffering. The entourage holding positions of power at the little palace on the hill is doing just fine.
That’s why I generously grant them a grace period of 100 days, an opportunity for them to show their true colours and what they can do in this difficult period, in which politicians both at home and internationally have proven to be failures with the world suffering as a result. So he did break his 50-50 promise to women, but will we see at least a 10 per cent promotion of gender justice? Will someone finally shake up the sacred monster of the public service? Will actions be taken immediately to eradicate horizontally and vertically outdated sexist perceptions and policies? Will Thanasis’ mother continue to fight alone? Will morning prayer, nationalism and other drugs continue in public schools? Will serious and humane steps be taken on migration? What about human rights? Will parked vehicles finally be removed from the sidewalks to make way for pedestrians? Will we continue to see images of our elderly being humiliated in the corridors of horror institutions? Will we eventually suffocate in exhaust fumes and garbage? Will we truly see steps towards a Cyprus issue settlement and genuine willingness for the reunification of our country?
So we’ll revert. In 100 days. By then, we should be able to pinpoint the first signs of the new political culture that we all thirst for, emerging. 100 days for them. But also for us.