In case anyone has not been convinced during the nearly two years of the pandemic that the interests of political parties are placed above all else, even by those who normally should transcend political skirmishes on such an issue, they were persuaded yesterday.

It was demonstrated in the flow of television programming yesterday, when the prime minister’s address to the nation on new measures to manage the pandemic was followed by the high-pitched, videotaped response of main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras. That image was enough to dispel the last doubts.

The country is paying a high price for this state of affairs. The example of vaccination rates in other European countries, such as Portugal, demonstrates with the stark truth of numbers the importance of political consensus.

In countries where the political system excluded from the management of the public health crisis the daily routine of disputes that aim to increase parties’ polling numbers, public opinion was persuaded more easily of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Even now, at the last minute, it is necessary for the enormous challenge of the pandemic not to be an issue that stirs political confrontation.

It is literally an issue of life and death, and the protection of public health is a common aim.

When one urges parties to find points of convergence, that does not mean that one is asking the main opposition not to play the role bestowed upon it by the Constitution.

Nobody is asking SYRIZA not to criticise the government. One is asking it to do the job assigned to it well, to push the government to speed up the vaccine rollout, and to support vaccination without the slightest reservation.

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