Tonight’s election results from Greece are the kiss of death for New Democracy and PASOK and mark the beginning of a series of difficult negotiations to form some kind of government to ensure normalcy.
PASOK is now the third party in the new Parliament with radical SYRIZA in second place, a short breath away from New Democracy.
It was a cry for change. Had this not been the result, the major political forces of Greece would have continued with business as usual. It was as clear as day during the electoral campaigns.
The problem is that there is little chance that a government will be formed in the next few days. And there is even less of a chance that the government that might be formed will be able to enforce the difficult austerity measures that were supposed to be implemented in June.
The first lesson is politics is to allow for some wiggle room. To let parties save face. Our European Allies did not do either and now the old political system is no more. Unfortunately it has not been replaced by something hopeful and new that could ensure continuity and a sense of purpose.
In a weird way, though people acknowledge the dangers that lie ahead, and know full well that change is afoot, there is a feeling of relief. They have spoken. They were not intimidated by the usual dilemmas, vote for us or else…
They ask tonight: What will happen tomorrow? And nobody can give them an answer, because nobody knows what kind of solution can be reached. None of the parties had taken the time to find how to pave the way to a possible collaboration.
Yet, there is a sense that the shackles have been broken. That Greeks are free to break the system and make something new. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
The extreme voices that have been voted in, will have their day, but soon will be silenced, when the public has the opportunity to see them up close and personal. Nonetheless, the clock will not turn back anymore. Greece and the Greeks will need to now think of new ways to move into the future. New faces, new parties, new expectations. The days ahead will be hard and chaotic. Hopefully, something good will come of this experiment.
But please, Europe, give the Greeks a bit of room.
Tone down the aggressive rhetoric, because the citizens of all EU countries have been watching. The French changed government, the Greeks overthrew the system and that means that all is still possible in politics if people believe it.