ISSN 2330-717X

Greece’s Political Deadlock – OpEd

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By Klaudio Llusku

As it became apparent, the May 6 elections that took place in Greece were nothing more than a mere public opinion polling where the vote expressed the discontent rather than the expected political and ideological belief. Indeed the elections did nothing more than to reveal what many had naturally expected and that is people’s anti- austerity feelings imposed by international partners, the rule of law and the governance by the two most prominent political parties in Greece; New Democracy Party (ND) and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) that have ruled Greece since the collapse of the Greek military junta in 1974.

The Sunday elections produced a rather unlikely, absurd political composition in the Greek parliament where many left -leaning political parties such as the United Democratic Left, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will be seating next to a highly and unprecedented right -wing presence (excluding the New Democracy Party which is considered center-right ) composed by the newly founded Independent Greeks Party and a Greek nationalist far-right political party, the Golden Dawn ,often criticized for its increasingly violent behavior and its neo-Nazi ideology. The two most prominent Greek political parties that have traditionally backed the tough austerity measures — PASOK and ND — this time lost their parliamentary majority and were seeking out the possibility for a coalition government comprised by this highly diverse political composition among parties that got elected as a result of their rejection towards the austerity measures. The coalition government — as it was well expected — was never to take place and Greece is yet preparing for another round of elections scheduled on 17th of June.

Greeks’ political discontent – in some cases ignorance – towards the austerity measures, PASOK and ND, (the two parties that have led the country to this disaster) led Greeks voting for untraditional parties just for the sake of showing their anti-PASOKness and anti-NDness. This however has increased the level of uncertainty and unpredictability on Greece’s political landscape and produced a dangerous situation from which a rather fragile coalition government could only emerge, if it is to emerge. A highly nationalist presence in the Greek parliament, as someone may assume, would have negative effects within the deep-rooted and traditionally nationalist Balkan region that witnessed yet another nationalist leader – Tomislav Nikolic — coming to power in Serbia this month. Moreover, a nationalist presence would also legitimize Turkey’s concerns and military buildup.

On the other hand, left-leaning parties like SYRIZA, DIMAR and KKE and their stubbornly anti-austerity agendas, may very well bring legitimate reasons for the markets to become worried and for the EU to start thinking about the future of Eurozone without Greece as part of it. For someone studying Modern Greek politics it would not be inconceivable to assume that if Papademos (outgoing Prime Minister of Greece) coalition government brought somewhat a political unity, the current elections and its aftermath have undoubtedly shattered any hope for a solid political coalition that could seriously negotiate terms with the Europeans and the IMF. It seems however, that the following 5 months will determine whether Greece remains in the Eurozone or not.

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