Tag Archives: LAOS

PASOK and New Democracy: Still standing on Sunday?

There is little doubt that Sunday’s elections will deal painful blows to both PASOK and New Democracy. The question, though, is whether they will be knockout blows. Most indications are that despite their declining popularity Greece’s two main parties will survive.

Since 1981, PASOK and New Democracy have only once received a combined share of the vote that is less than 79 percent. This was in the most recent national elections, in 2009. It was the fourth consecutive elections in which the two parties saw their share of the vote decline but it would take a drop of monumental proportions on Sunday to keep the Socialists and conservatives from being in a position to form a government.

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Greece’s painful political transition

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

Confusing times

Nine days to go to Greek elections and the picture is as murky as ever…

New Democracy insists it will govern on its own even though polls suggest it will get nowhere near a clear majority…

PASOK says it will come first at the ballot box and decide the next gov’t even though polls show it trailing New Democracy by some distance…

Leftist SYRIZA says it might perform ideological pirouette & accept support of nationalist Independent Greeks to form anti-bailout front…

Independent Greeks, whose raison d’etre is opposing bailout, says it can’t work with SYRIZA. Last week it said they agree on some things…

The Communist Party (KKE) has asked for as many votes as possible to ensure that it won’t be part of the next government…

Democratic Left says it won’t enter a coalition with PASOK or New Democracy but might be able to agree with them on some issues…

Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) says it won’t work with PASOK & ND unless they change leaders and agree to form a southern European front…

Neofascist Chryssi Avgi wants to create 4th Reich in Greece when all the other extreme parties want to drive Germans out of the country…

Meanwhile, the Ecologist Greens just want everyone to be nice to the environment.

Greek elections 2012: confused? You will be.

Nick Malkoutzis

They all fall down

Collapsing buildings seem to be a good metaphor for Greece during these dark days. A number of edifices in Athens are likely to be demolished after being gutted by fire during rioting on Sunday night. The vandalism and violence destroyed what was a large and peaceful demonstration against the austerity measures in Greece’s latest loan agreement with the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The deal was approved by MPs but the turmoil this process caused within Greece’s parties emphasized that the country’s political structure is also crumbling.

While the expulsion of 43 MPs from PASOK and New Democracy for not approving the bailout was the most visible sign of a political system that is reaching the end of its days, the last week laid bare much greater inadequacies. No matter how many lawmakers are jettisoned from this hot air balloon, it won’t get off the ground again.

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New Year, no time

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

There was little to learn from the marathon meeting of PASOK’s political council this week apart from the fact that if he can preside over 12 hours of non-stop debate, former Prime Minister George Papandreou would soon find work as a telethon host if he chooses not to run for party leader again.

The lengthy and apparently pointless talks among some 40 PASOK heavyweights did, however, sum up perfectly the complete dislocation that now exists between political Greece and real Greece. It is likely that 2011 will go down as a watershed year in terms of the country’s democratic evolution, as the time when Greek decision-makers of all political persuasions found themselves so far behind the public that there was no hope of catching up.

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Grinding to a halt?

The expression of anguish on President Karolos Papoulias’s face on Friday
spoke of two things. Firstly, of the sadness that an event held ostensibly to
remember the Greeks who fell in the Second World War was canceled for the first  time since the tradition began. But more significantly it embodied the
frustration of a political system caught lagging so far behind its people that
the gap seems too wide to bridge.

The abandonment of the October 28 military parade in Thessaloniki was the
result of a number of things but the one that should concern us most is the
chasm that has opened between the rulers and the ruled, as was evident in the
hyperbolic chants of “traitor” aimed at Papoulias. This breakdown is an
indication of how badly Greece’s political system has failed and opens up a
space that could be filled by much darker forces.

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The Greek crisis and the politics of uncertainty

My latest policy paper for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Friedrich Ebert Foundation) in Germany looks at the effect the economic crisis in Greece is having on the country’s political system.

In English: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/ipa/08570.pdf

Previous papers for FES:

Greece, a year in crisis: Examining the political and social impact of an unprecedented austerity programme: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/ipa/08208.pdf

Young Greeks: The danger of losing a generation: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/ipa/08465.pdf