Παρασκευή, 9 Μαΐου 2014

European Elections and Greece: An Unpredictable Scenario


By Justine Frangouli-Argyris

In Greece, today, no one can foresee what will transpire nationally after the European elections later this month given the fact that the far-left party (Syriza) is leading in public opinion while the once dominant socialists (Elia/Pasok) are polling a paltry 7 %.

According to a recent poll conducted by Pulse for the weekly review Pontiki, the opposition Syriza holds a statistically significant lead over the governing rightist New Democracy party of 2% .

Shockingly, the fascist Golden Dawn party, on whose legality the Greek Supreme Court will shortly rule, continues to hold onto third place with the newly formed Potami, or “River,” led by popular journalist Stavros Theodorakis, placing fourth among the electorate.

Following is a detailed summary of voting intentions in Greece for the 2014 Euro-elections (as published in Pontiki):

Syriza 22,5%





 

The unpredictable outcome may threaten the stability of the current coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' New Democracy and Evangelos Venizelos' Pasok, causing great concern among the Hellenes of the Diaspora as everything may eventually be at stake. For, even if Syriza does not triumph on election day, how can the government continue to cling to power with its coalition partner falling to 7% among voter preference?

According to Mr. Anthony Diamantaris, the publisher of the historical New York daily, The National Herald, “the upcoming elections will likely have historical significance since it is possible that they may determine the future of the country and, in turn, become a silent referendum on whether Greece wants to remain inside or outside the euro. The political system is exhausted. Understandably, the people seem to be looking for new, more hopeful political forces. This, however, entails the risk of the prevailing of extreme political forces--from both sides of the political spectrum—and the empowerment of individuals completely unprepared to handle current critical national issues. And, of course, should no decisive result ensue, anarchy would be the worst of all possible consequences. As for the Greek community in America, I think that we are closely watching the developments with pain, sorrow and worry and, as always, in solidarity with the sorely suffering people of Greece."

Dr. Stefanos Constantinidis, Professor of Political Science at Montreal's UQAM University, notes that "these elections will be a first taste of what will follow in national elections in Greece. They will outline eventual developments for the Greek political system and the future of Samaras’ government. We are in front of political readjustments. The outcome will be judged by whether Syriza and New Democracy can hold onto their percentages or if one of the two can come away with a decisive victory."

How this will affect the stability of the government is a matter of concern to the political analysts of Europe.   As Constantinidis states,"It will also depend on the percentages of the other parties. parties. If Elia/Pasok collapses, for example , it will create a different outlook for the current government and the political system '

The Hellenic Diaspora in North America, despite the fact that it may have limited in-depth knowledge of the upcoming electoral game and its impact on the Samaras–Venizelos government, is well aware of the following key points:

1) that Syriza, with the endless internal confusion amongst its partners, is losing ground whereas it could have developed a momentum that could overturn today’s political balance;

2) that New Democracy, with the help of its EU partners and encouraging recent macroeconomic data, may be on the verge of benefiting from a “post-austerity season,” as international markets continue to show improving stability in Greece;

3) that the fascist party, Golden Dawn, continues to be dangerously popular even though its leaders have been indicted and jailed;

4) that the infant River party was formed in order to attract disillusioned center-leftists and, in effect, in order to syphon votes from Syriza;

5) and that Evangelos Venizelos of Pasok, by remaining in a centre-right coalition government in spite of his leftist roots, has sacrificed his political future on the altar of the country's stability and paid a princely sum by seeing his base migrate to the support of others (mainly Syriza).

It turns out that May 25th, the day of European parliamentary elections in Greece, will be a day of judgment on the country's future in the European Union after all.

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