The country is in the midst of a pre-electoral autumn and is entering a pre-electoral winter. It would be exceptionally harmful if that continues through the spring and summer up until the government completes its four-year term in September, 2019.

No economy can withstand a year-long electoral period, let alone one that has suffered from a protracted, tortuous crisis.

By all appearances, there is an emerging current in the ruling party that favours early elections even before the local and European Parliament Parliament elections, which will be held together in May.

That current is fueled by the conviction that the later the elections will be held, the greater the electoral cost will be for the government.

.Opinion polls are not at all encouraging, the heckling of ministers is ever more frequent, and scandals – from the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport concession to the DEPA public gas company – are all bearing heavily on the government.

It is in the interests of the country that the conviction that the earlier elections are held the better for the public interest and the country should be heeded.

Having copied every bad practice of previous governments, the government has exhausted every opportunity for handouts and civil service hiring.

The time has come for it to ask for the bill at the polls. The time has come for the protracted electoral period to end and for the political terrain to be cleared up.