Antonis Samaras made his rounds looking to form a coalition government. It took only a few hours for him to go back to the President of the Hellenic Republic empty handed. Last night’s election signaled the end of an era for the party of New Democracy.
Perhaps, it was the vitriolic rhetoric during the campaign that helped to destroy any possible bridges. Perhaps it is that too many parties in the new parliament are against the bailout plan; and by that I mean the austerity measures of the plan, not the money.
SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras, its leader is next. He will try to form a left wing government to overturn the agreements made with the EU.
The general feeling in Greece is that the political parties will not be able to form any kind of government, and the next election will take place in June, perhaps on the 17th.
The question is what will the voters say next? If the large parties believe that a repeat election will give them more votes, and that their fortunes will be reversed, I think that they are sadly mistaken. Whether SYRIZA will maintain its strength or plummet is also in question. Many voted for SYRIZA to show their anger and disapproval. They will not do so again. Same goes for Chrissi Avgi, the extreme right, fascist party that won a significant number of seats in the new Parliament.
Perhaps one productive solution would be for the formerly large parties to break down completely and form other more intesting, forward thinking, youth driven movements like Panos Kammenos did when he took the leap of faith and broke away from New Democracy. Agree with him or not, one thing is sure, he gave people of the center-right a voice.
The next question is how can any party be appealing, that insists on implementing the austerity measures or else… rhetoric. None of the parties that were advocating honoring our agreements and staying the difficult course reached the 3% threshhold to enter Parliament.
There has to be a way, to stop confusing much needed reforms with salaries that boarder on stipends and not living wages.
Herein lies the challenge and the confusion. Sort the reforms from the economics of austerity. Separate them clearly. Explain to the people what must be changed and fight to salvage wages and jobs, especially for the young and principally in the private sector. Breaking down monopolies is not the same as cutting wages by 50%. The second is not a reform it’s a cost cutting mechanism to control state spending.
Time is of the essence. I hope that if there is to be a new election, there will be new parties and new voices added to the mix. Because the way things are, what we see today does not give enough positive options for an electorate willing to risk a complete financial disaster to bring about change.