Greek voters go to the polls in a few hours and it appears from the polls and expert analysis that the two major parties New Democracy and the Greek socialist party Pasok may together not get more than 40 or so % of the vote. Instead a number of small parties who are strongly opposed to the austerity conditions of the Greek bailout together may score close to 40 %. Unfortunately a very extreme right wing nationalist populist party called Golden Dawn seems poised also to get more than 5 % of the vote. Among the previously fringe parties doing well in the polls is a new party led by a popular tv presenter who is strongly opposed to the austerity conditions, the independent Greeks party; the Communist party is also strongly opposed as is the Coalition of the Radical Left and two other parties who have staked out an anti-bailout austerity policy. Even the leader of the Conservative New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras, which is polling around 25 % is very critical of the austerity being demanded and is promising changes in policy. There are more than thirty parties in Greece !
Pasok led by Evangelos Venizelos is down to 15-19 % in the polls after having won the last election with 43 % of the vote.Its leader insists that Greece had no choice but to go along with the austerity demanded of it. Obviously I don’t agree. Though to be fair there needed to be better support for this position from influential economists in Europe. Its handling of the crisis and its embrace of austerity appear to have guaranteed its political defeat. So we shall know tomorrow if both Greece and France become close allies over these clearly discredited austerity policies. The future character of the Euro zone and European democracy hangs in the balance.
I’m a former student of yours who follows your blog regularly. I’ve always enjoyed your articles (as I did your classes). You mention in your article that Greece has over 30 parties. Although the official numbers are not in yet, with close to 40% of the votes apparently going to a number of smaller parties, do you think such a fragmented political landscape would remain stable enough to fight off the ridiculous austerity measures imposed by PASOK and the Eurozone? I’m personally hoping for some sort of stable coalition but I have my doubts on how feasible this will be. Along with Francois Hollande’s anticipated victory in France, this is turning out to be a very interesting day in Europe.