Greece is to hold elections 6 May 2012, for the first time since the start of the Greek crisis—and in the midst of the most destructive austerity ever imposed on the Greek people. The ‘markets’ are apparently ‘unhappy’, since the result—a win by the ‘wrong’ party, or even a hung parliament—might put the recent Eurozone ‘bailout’ (read: punishment) and partial-default deal in danger.
From the streets of Athens, the answer surely is: They can get stuffed.
Democracy shouldn’t be the prerogative of international finance.But if in fact it is—if in fact, bankers and their fellow travellers in Frankfurt, London and Zürich call the shots as many suspect—then the continuing Greek farce demonstrates that ‘liberal democracy’ is not real democracy at all. Is Greece simply, finally proving that ‘liberal democracy’—conceptually, philosophically, practically—is simply oligarchy made pretty?
Where stands the Greek electorate? Divided, angry and confused.
At the last election in 2009, a few weeks before the Greek crisis erupted, PASOK (a vaguely centre-left, bourgeois, New Labour-like party) and the New Democrats (conservatives) held sway over 77.4% of the vote between them. Today, the combined vote of the two largest Greek parties stands at 33.5%. The old certainties are being swept away, as the two parties directly responsible for Greece’s present state are deserted en masse.
As a socialist, I’m slightly comforted by the relative strength of the left. Parties of the left and far-left—the Coalition of the Radical Left, Democratic Left, and the Communists—have a powerful 36% of the vote between them, without including PASOK and the smaller Ecologist Greens. Nevertheless, there are some ominous developments, with the rise of a new nationalist-conservative party (the Independent Greeks) and a stable 5% for the neo-fascist Chrysi Avgi party.
This is the end of the old, staid, stable and moderate politics of post-dictatorship Greece. What follows next will depend greatly on the results of this election. The New Democrats have already threatened to force a new election if they can’t form a government, which would plunge the country into further crisis—and perhaps even a full default.
Boiling under the surface, however, are possibilities still worse–and all too real.
Poll by The Public Issue for Skai TV and Kathimerini. (Link)New Democrats (Conservative) 19.0%
PASOK (Centre-Left) 14.5%
Coalition of the Radical Left (Left) 13.0%
Democratic Left (Left) 12.0%
Communist Party [KKE] (Left) 11.0%
Independent Greeks (Nationalist) 11.0%
Chrysi Avgi (Neo-fascist) 5.0%
Popular Orthodox Rally (Conservative) 3.0%
Ecologist Greens (Left) 3.0%