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Greek election prospects murky

Greek election prospects murky
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Pallas Athena is antiquity’s goddess of wisdom, courage and inspiration. Where is she now?

Is there a politician who can wrest this country from the clutches of economic Hades?

The Greeks today are scrambling for inspiration, while immersed in strife and uncertainty, with financial troubles the equal of Sisyphus.

Yet who will sit in the palace of parliament after elections this April itself seems like a game of chaos.

Political sociologist Ilias Nikolakopoulos said: “We don’t even know how many parties will be represented in April. That’s the biggest problem, I think. What we saw in parliament on Sunday was actually the dissolution of the two major parties. It’s hard to see how they’ll be able to form a new government of national unity after the elections.”

What if elections were held tomorrow? The New Democracy conservatives were credited with 31% in the latest opinion poll. They would have to form a coalition with the socialist party, PASOK.

The socialists are broadly hated – because former prime minister George Papandreou got the austerity ball rolling in 2010 – in a situation he inherited. PASOK is credited with only 8%-11% support.

Business is no better. This landscape too is full of shell craters. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) have been broadsided repeatedly by the crisis. There is a cash drought, along with no more trust in banks. Owners who can are running on private money.

Dimitris Asimakopoulos, president of a confederation of SMEs said: “Consumers, and especially entrepreneurs, are terrified that we’re going to leave the euro soon… we’ll go back to the drachma.”

Nine out of ten Greeks are pessimistic. Austerity decisions have the politicians squeezed between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Laura Davidescu, euronews correspondent in Athens, said: “Pushing for still more austerity, as demanded by the creditors’ Troika, amounts to suicide for Greece’s political parties. Not pushing looks like shirking responsibility, since without an international transfusion, Greece faces social chaos.”

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