Sunday’s vote left Greece in a precarious balance. The unity government is still intact. It’s first order of business is to immediately begin the implementation of the bailout agreement.
The Eurogroup with teleconference on Wednesday to discuss the package of aid to Greece. The German Parliament scheduled its vote on the issue for the 27 of February. PSI negotiations must end as soon as possible and a deal needs to be struck to reduce Greece’s debt by close to 100 billion euros.
Life in the city of Athens is trying to slowly return to normal, especially after the shock of burning and looting that took place Sunday night.
Things, however, have changed once and for all for the leading political parties of Greece. Both the socialists and the conservatives who have alternated in power since the end of the dictatorship in 1974 find their groups in ruins and their polling figures have reached a nadir. In the elections of 2009, PASOK won 160 seats. Today it has 131 seats in its party. In 2009, New Democracy won 91 seats. Today it has 62. There are 63 independent members of parliament today.
Elections will probably take place sometime in late April or early May. The burning then question will be: in this new reality who would cooperate with whom in the likely event that one party will not have enough votes to form its own government?
Perhaps, the creation of new parties with some of the independent parliamentarians and fresh new faces as well could give voters more realistic options and some kind of collaboration could be secured after the general vote. But in the event that socialists get only 8% of the vote, as polls are now indicating, that would mean that the left is bound to make huge gains in the upcoming elections and that would be a complete reversal of present decisions.
In the next few weeks things will become clearer. Right now, there is too much flux to be able to safely predict the outcome. What is clear is that the Greek crisis is far from over and the wider European crisis could deepen.
Perhaps, at this juncture, the markets need to begin to understand that the turmoil will continue for a long while and that just as politicians are trying to move faster, they too need to slow down and wait for things to work themselves out . Things will do so in the end. There is , therefore, no reason to have such daily knee jerk reactions to every contradictory statement made by actors speaking to the press and expressing opinions that may or may not even matter.
In these troubled times many extreme views have been expressed and harsh things have been said. Some have compared the situation to the last days of the Weimar Republic. Others, have attacked Germany for it’s unwavering stance, demanding more and more austerity measures to deal with the situation. There have been stereotypes of countries and leaders and people being circulated all over the member states.
We are not living in the 20th century and Europe has learned how to resolve crises peacefully. This can surely be achieved. It will take time, patience and a better understanding of each other. Greece has many wrongs to correct and many changes to make if it wants to survive at first and flourish again after some time. But all EU members, the media, the politicians, the publics, the markets need to understand how Greece must not become the powered keg of Europe because fires across the continent spread quickly and are put out only very slowly and at a very high cost.
The safest approach is the moderate approach.