Elections in Greece take place on June 17; just a week away. Publicizing polls is forbidden as of last week, so as not to influence the outcome. Nonetheless, those who are in the know, say that the the two front runners ND and SYRIZA are neck and neck and it’s impossible to safely predict the outcome.
The mood is one of growing worry and fatigue. The main contenders are divided thus: those who will vote for ND are the ones who clearly want to stay in the euro and believe that by making sufficient changes in the policy mix and the agreements with Greece’s european lenders will allow the economy to slowly make a come-back. Those who belong in this camp, are fearful of SYRIZA, a party who is proclaiming the nationalization of banks and important businesses. They fear that if SYRIZA wins, it will be the final blow to the middle class because of taxation, a return to a disfunctioning state run economy, a model which will surely lead Greece to full fledged bankruptcy and an eventual departure from the Eurozone. SYRIZA is drawing in those who have nothing to lose, who are sick of the old political guard, who like Tsipras’ standing up to the lenders and those who have for years been in charge of unions and public run companies. They are joined by some left wing intellectuals and professors.
It is the saddest election in recent memory. There is so much to lose, and so much more pain ahead. Undoubtedly the economic mix proposed by the Troika, the IMF and the ECB has not been effective. It has led to a deep recession and a staggering 22% official unemployment rate.
This is not Greece of two years ago. The hope is that Greece cannot be the scapegoat anymore. That Spain who tried to implement similar austerity measures is suffering as well. Even Germany is seeing a slow down of exports especially to other EU members who are her largest market.
The general consensus is that the old political establishment is finished and even if ND carries the day, it will not be by much. This will in itself spark internal changes and the ushering in of new leadership. If SYRIZA wins, Greece faces a period of unpredictable experimentation. SYRIZA will quickly lose support just like other have given the difficulty of the situation. That much is inevitable. The question is where will Greece end up. Is the change of mood taking place in Europe enough of a shift to buy Greece time? Is the entire eurozone really proving a failed experiment? If Spain goes down who is next?
It’s too early to know how things will pan out. None of this will be resolved quickly. As for the Greeks, the overwhelming majority wants to stay in the eurozone; they just need some space to breath and function. They will cast their vote with a heavy heart, knowing full well that the ride ahead is more like a roller coaster than a simple ride.