Who can predict how things will turn out in the end. The vote of confidence takes place tonight. It had seemed all but certain that Prime Minister Papandreou would lose the vote Friday night but politics can be unpredictable and he may actually survive tonight. The reason for this is that opposition leader Antonis Samaras, of New Democracy, is insisting on a transition government, with a short timeframe and elections before the holidays.
This is clearly not the best outcome for the country since the new
economic terms of our loans will not be finalized until February. So PASOK
parliamentarians are faced with a very serious decision, one that could have catastrophic results for the country. It’s hard to overthrow a government without being certain that there is another better solution in sight. Also Greece needs a government on Monday to represent the country’s interests in
the Eurogroup meeting.
The prevailing feeling in Greece is one of incredulity. The public understands how much is at stake and how politics is failing them at the moment. Of course, the fear of bankruptcy could easily be replaced by sheer anger leading people back on the streets and voting negatively in a potential general election.
By tonight things may change again if Papandreou is forced to give some kind of indication of working toward a new government without his own participation. Ministers in his government are asking for a vote of confidence and tie it directly with the creation of a coalition government to lead Greece through this crisis.
The feeling is that even if Papandreou passes Friday’s test, he will not be able to reach an agreement with New Democracy. Neither leader seems to earnestly desire an interrim solution. Papadreou and Samaras have enjoyed a long friendship and a complete lack of political communication. Papandreou would like to show an impasse to explain his inability to pass the measures while the leadership in New Democracy, is eagerly preparing to take over the reigns of the government, following a general election which will inevitably take place soon enough.
Unfortunately under this particular ND leadership team, Greece will lose still more time because the opposition has based its comeback in the polls on demanding the renegotiation of the packet of measures needed to get Greece out of the crisis. It doesn’t seem likely that the EU partners will allow Greece much leeway especially in this critical moment when Italy is facing imminent financial danger and the eurozone needs stability.
In addition, historically conservative governments have never been able to pass any structural changes. The socialist-left block has always been better organized. They had strong allies in the unions and interest groups and had been able to pass measures that for the conservatives would have been impossible.
The outcome of ongoing events remains to be seen. Unfortunately, there is so much to lose and so little hope that things can work out because nobody can think of what the Deus Ex Machina could be in this particular Greek tragedy.
Greeks are holding their breath and hoping for the best.