If the new Greek government is attempting to bamboozle the country’s lenders into submission with its tactical meandering, who knows, it might have struck on a great idea. If it’s trying to convince the Greek people it’s capable of dealing with the economic crisis, then performing more sudden turns than Fernando Alonso going through the Monaco chicanes is just not going to cut it.
Within a week, the three parties who campaigned on a pre-election platform of renegotiation, renegotiation, renegotiation suddenly decided that the bailout terms are fine as they are for now. Then, they changed their minds again and decided it would be best to bring up the issue of changes to the loan deal in talks with the troika later this month.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras caused consternation last week when they suggested there would be no Greek bid to renegotiate the bailout, without making it clear whether this meant abandoning efforts or simply putting them off. There is logic to the strategy of putting aside the renegotiation issue in the sense that the coalition government can draw a line under what has happened in the past, express its commitment to meeting fiscal and reform targets and allow a little time for trust with its lenders to be restored and goodwill credits that could be subsequently cashed in to be amassed.
Posted in Economy, Greece, Greek politics
Tagged Austerity, Democratic Left, Evangelos Venizelos, Fotis Kouvelis, Greece, Greek bailout, Greek coalition, Greek crisis, immigrants, New Democracy, PASOK, Troika
Ten tons of illegal election campaign posters were taken down in Athens over the past few days. The political scrap-heap is full, for now.
Having been sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister on Wednesday, Antonis Samaras will hope that this will be his moment of redemption. From rising star to rebel and them from outcast to unlikely unifier, Samaras has covered the whole gamut of political roles. Now, he must fulfill the biggest of them all, at the most crucial of times.
With him in charge, New Democracy veered all over the place like a driver nodding off at the steering wheel. He also managed the unique feat of alienating the party’s middle-ground voters while also losing support to the right. It’s safe to say that Samaras will have to up his game as prime minister.
Posted in Greece, Greek politics
Tagged Antonis Samaras, Democratic Left, Evangelos Venizelos, Fotis Kouvelis, Greece, Greek coalition, Greek crisis, Greek elections, New Democracy, PASOK
It’s not often that the losing party in an election can declare that “a new day is dawning.” Yet, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras felt that his party’s phenomenal rise, which narrowly lacked the momentum to carry the leftists to first place in Sunday’s Greek elections, justified a feeling of optimism.
“The future does not belong to the terrorised but those who bring hope,” he told supporters at a small post-election rally in central Athens on Sunday night.
Tsipras is right to feel emboldened by his party’s upward trajectory from 4.6 percent in the 2009 election to almost 27 percent in yesterday’s vote but the immediate future belongs to those who pledge something much less ambitious than hope. Sunday’s result, which saw New Democracy’s conservatives gain 29.6 percent, provides a mandate for those who pledge plain old stability.
My fourth policy paper for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung has just been published. It is on the subject of the Greek elections, what else? The aim is to look at the dominant themes in this campaign and the factors that Greeks will be contemplating before they cast their ballots on May 6. Despite the campaign being dominated by the rather sterile pro-/anti-bailout debate, there are actually a number of themes that will play a role in forming people’s opinions.
As the title suggests, this paper is an attempt to create a snapshot of the Greek political scene at a time when it is going through a major transition. As a result, parts of the picture will be blurry and incomplete because events are moving fast and there is no clear conclusion in sight. Nevertheless, I hope it provides readers with an insight into the tremendous economic, social and political changes Greece is undergoing.
You can read the paper in English here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/09061.pdf
You can read the paper in German here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/09060.pdf
Posted in Greece, Greek politics
Tagged Democratic Left, Greece, Greek crisis, Greek economy, Greek elections, Greek politics, Independent Greeks, KKE, LAOS, New Democracy, PASOK, SYRIZA