An early vote, all over again?

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

As it hap­pens, only six months af­ter Jan­uary’s gen­eral elec­tion, Greece is once again faced with the prospect of another snap vote. The an­tics of the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cials be­tray a de­sire to shy away from hard facts – and these war­rant a sys­tem­atic, painstak­ing ef­fort to im­ple­ment a pro­gram (in this case the third in­ter­na­tional mem­o­ran­dum) which ev­ery­one claims to be nec­es­sary, yet at the same time ev­ery­one un­der­mines it in their own way. Jan­uary’s bal­lot showed that there are two dom­i­nant po­lit­i­cal forces – SYRIZA and New Democ­racy – en­joy­ing be­tween them some 60 per­cent of the Greek vote. How­ever, none of the two par- ties ap­pears able to se­cure an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity. The two par­ties are driven by dif­fer­ent val­ues, but they have to tread the same po­lit­i­cal path: the one de­manded by the coun­try’s for­eign lenders. This means that sta­bil­ity on Greece’s po­lit­i­cal quick­sand can only be achieved through co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the cen­ter-right and the left ei­ther in the con­text of the ex­ist­ing Par­lia­ment or the one that will emerge from a fresh elec­tion. In other words, the re­al­ity on the ground is mak­ing the po­lit­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences be­tween the two big­gest par­ties less rel­e­vant – at least for a set pe­riod of time, un­til some de­gree of eco­nomic sta­bil­ity has been re­stored. To be sure, there are rea­sons to be skep­ti­cal about im­pos­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial – as it were – con­sen­sus be­tween these two po­lit­i­cal par­ties. A sim­i­lar thing was at­tempted dur­ing the time of the Sa­ma­ras-led coali­tion: It all but de­stroyed PA­SOK while cat­a­pult­ing SYRIZA into power. Fur­ther­more, it would amount to a public con­fes­sion that SYRIZA is no longer a rad­i­cal left­ist party, and that ND would no longer be able to act as a tra­di­tional con­ser­va­tive party (which has in fact been the case for the past few years). Such a move, some an­a­lysts claim, would re­sult in strength­en­ing the power of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and – less so – of the par­ties on the far left of the spec­trum. How­ever, on the ba­sis of the cur­rent elec­toral sys­tem, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween ND and SYRIZA could go on for sev­eral years. This of course on con­di­tion that the pro­gram pro­duced some tan­gi­ble re­sults – a prospect that is deeply ques­tioned by a sub­stan­tial sec­tion of the public and sys­temic party lead­ers. The safest way is to see dif­fer­ent ma­jori­ties al­ter­nate in power, as has hap­pened over the re­cent pe­riod. In any case, we should not de­lude our­selves, be­cause early elec­tions ap­pear un­avoid­able.

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