Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Source: Reuters

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European Central Bank

European Central Bank (Photo credit: kumbarov)

The last days we are witnessing a parody without beginning or ending. After the result of the election in Greece last Sunday, which did not result in a strong government, the political parties can’t find a solution to work together for the sake of Greek people.

Coincidence or fate?

The situation for the rest of the Eurozone is not either optimus. Angela Merkel’s conservatives have suffered heavy losses today in the election of Germany’s most populous state. France, Italy and Holland also recently rejected austerity policies. Large protests and minor clashes spurred in Spain, plus a popular opposition is taking shape in Ireland, just weeks before the 31 May referendum on the EU fiscal treaty.

The real world is paying the high priests of austerity an unwelcome visit, as their policies have sucked growth out of the economy, failed to manage debt, dramatically increased unemployment and altered living standards.

Is this leading to the end of euro? According to Paul Krugman yes, as he wrote on his blog before some hours:

«1. Greek euro exit is very possibly next month.

2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

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“The people will choose the forces that lead the way which ensures our country’s stay in the European Union and the euro”. Lucas Papademos, Greece’s interim prime minister, called for snap elections yesterday, opening the way for a contest without a definitive result till the 6th of May…

According to the latest public opinion survey eight parties would enter the next parliament:  Conservative Nea Dimokratia 18,2%, socialist PASOK 14,2%, Communist KKE 8%, Independent Greeks 7%, left SYRIZA 6,2%, Democratic Left 5,9%, far-right LAOS 4%, extreme-right Chrysi Aygi 3,1%.

Furthermore, while the majority of respondents seem to prefer Nea Dimokratia, 24,3% consider ex Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos(PASOK leader) as the most suitable PM and 23,8% Antonis Samaras (ND leader). Apart from that, 63,3% want a coalition government, while 28,1% want one-party government. The most expected of all is that an overwhelming majority, 84,9%, declare that they will go to cast votes, while 13% say they will abstain from the elections.

The polls reflect the augmented public anger and social unrest against the politicians who approved austerity measures and are perceived as having created the dysfunctional state that lead to the conditions for the debt crisis. In addition, they declare undoubtedly that the two parties in the interim government have lost major support, despite the fact that in the last election of 2009, they polled almost 80%.

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Since today, PASOK has a new leader. Evangelos Venizelos, Vice President and Finance Minister of Lucas Papademos’ government, won the internal party elections throughout Greece, gaining a second chance after having lost from former PASOK president George Papandreou in the previous party elections held in November of 2007.

But his victory did not come as a surprise for the wide minded. The last months he was assigned one of the most difficult tasks in the world: to save the Greek economy.  The completion of a plan to erase a third of the over 360-billion-euro Greek state debt burden held by private creditors, opened the way for the release of a second 130-billion-euro bailout deal to Greece by international lenders which is expected to be ratified by the Greek parliament by April.

In return, the 55-year-old ran unopposed in the contest to take over the centre-left party from George Papandreou, who resigned as prime minister in November. And he won with the approval of more than 200.000 who were willing to pay the 2 euro fee for voting him…

Apart from that, the Greek socialist party is facing tremendous lose as to its popularity and not without a reason. The latest survey conducted by telephone (Public Issue, March 8-13) put PASOK in fifth place with the support of 11 percent of respondents, while for decades it was the largest party in Greece with 40 percent of the vote or more in most elections.

And why so? The party took most of the blame for the painful rounds of austerity measures enacted in exchange for aid from foreign creditors. Analysts believe that voters are likely to punish socialists for its role. Furthermore, one-third of voters plan to abstain or cast blank ballots according to recent polls.

So, a “change” was compulsory in order to reverse the negative image in people’s minds due to the general election by early May.

And last but not least, today, March 18, is the anniversary of the death of Eleftherios Venizelos. If someone believes in reincarnation, something which Greek Orthodoxs don’t, maybe there is a hope…