Sunday, January 25, 2015

Greece's Left Turn


It looks as if the Greek left party Syriza is heading for a big win in today's General Election, even if it is not yet clear whether the party headed by putative Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras cna yet gain a majority.  What is clear is that Greek voters have decided to see if they can bluff the EU into easing up on their austerity conditions for the huge bail-out received in the wake of their economic crisis.

Greece's economic crisis was deeper than most other western countries because Greece's feather-bedding of its public servants was so much more generous.  Greek voters, it seems, have had enough of their dalliance with austerity, although in giving their support to Syriza it's difficult to see what they think the party is now going to be able to offer.  Greece remains in hoc to EU bail-out funds, backed by a Germany which is less bothered by the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone than she once was.

Greek voters have sent a message that says they don't like tough economic measures and want an easier life.  It's hardly a revolutionary stance for an electorate, but it might end up leading to a revolutionary event - the Greek departure from the euro.  Then the lessons really do begin, for if such a departure sees Greece actually benefitting (Abbie Martin posits this possibility in a level-headed analysis of the Greek election result on the Spectator blog here) it could well encourage other resurgent left-wing parties in Europe, also indulging in anti-austerity populism, to believe they can achieve victory and hang the cost to Europe.

It's not often in modern times that election results in Greece are so eagerly pored over, but the consequences of Syriza's victory could be profound, and the European project significantly changed.



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