How with the sharpest of eyes and intellect can you start to analyse the Greek elections? Dubbed the financial equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis, a referendum on the euro, the Greeks – at the polls for a second time in six weeks – have endorsed the single currency.
That is the interpretation of the result by Antonis Samaras the leader of the centre right party, New Democracy. With a slender percentage lead he has started the political horsetrading to form a government.
“Today the Greek people expressed their will to stay anchored with the euro, remain an integral part of the eurozone, honour the country’s commitments. I call upon all political parties that share those objectives to join forces and form a stable new government,” he said.
That call to unity papers over the deep divisions in Greece over the conditions imposed with the latest bailout fund.
EU officials have been emphatic that Greece must stick to its pledges if it is to receive the tranche of funding, 130 billion euros.
Conditions the next government must meet include:
Slash spending by 11 billion euros
Cut 150,000 jobs in the civil service
Sell off state owned companies
Improve tax collection
And open up closed professions
The once powerful PASOK has paid the price for abandoning what many say is the party’s socialist principles by backing the austerity measures.
Third in the polls their leader wants a broad government.
“That kind of government is a government of national responsibility with the participation at least of New Democracy, SYRIZA, PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR),” said Evangelos Venizelos.
The radical left, Syriza party with its enigmatic leader Alexis Tsipras has vowed to continue the fight against austerity measures from the opposition benches.
“The government that will be formed with New Democracy at its core needs to seriously take into consideration that on big issues it can no longer proceed as previous governments have done,” stated Alexis Tsipras.
So without the participation of the radical left it would appear the government could be headed by New Democracy and Pasok, discredited and held responsible by many for the country’s bankruptcy in the first place. More of the same for Greece say some commentators.