Cartoon by Ilias Makris
Since he began his political career at the unusually young age of 28, Panos Kammenos has made a name for himself by being involved in high-decibel attacks on opposition politicians. For years, he was one of New Democracy’s attack dogs, poised to bite the necks of any passing detractor. Now a party leader, Kammenos finds himself struggling for political survival as his propensity for blood and bluster proves his very undoing.
His failure on Monday to respond to complaints from Independent Greeks MPs about his leadership prompted the kind of furious ranting that Kammenos, usually with the aid of a sheen of sweat, has made his trademark. “He is a coward,” barked Yiannis Manolis, another politician who has shunned the sotto voce school of oratory.
Greece has been the centre of the world’s attention, again, over the past couple of weeks. The June 17 elections and their fallout has attracted interest from around the globe and I was lucky enough to be asked to write some articles about all this for The Guardian and Businessweek. I provide links to these stories below in the hope they will act as an election diary, of sorts (I was never very good at keeping diaries).
Wednesday, June 13
Greece faces an agonising election choice (The Guardian)
The fear factor in Greek elections (Businessweek)
Monday, June 17
The Greek election may yet prove a victory for SYRIZA (The Guardian)
For Greek politicians, election doesn’t make governing any easier (Businessweek)
Tuesday, June 18
Greece’s anti-bailout brigade is here to stay (Businessweek)
Wednesday, June 19
Greece nears a coalition that seeks space to fix the economy (Businessweek)
Thursday, June 20
Tourism in Greece may rebound with new government (Businessweek)
Friday, June 21
Greece vs Germany, the real fireworks come after the soccer match (Businessweek)
Sunday, June 24
Finance minister of Greece: the world’s worst job? (Businessweek)
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.