Greek Elections Resounding NO to Austerity

May 7 (EIRNS)–The Greek election was a resounding “no!” to the
brutal bankers’ austerity that has crushed the Greek economy and
the Greek living conditions. As this is Greece, the result was
the overthrow of the political class that has ruled the country
since the overthrow of the military junta in 1975, and has
splintered the political landscape
New Democracy, despite “winning” the election, garnered only
18.96% of the vote, down by more than 14 points. They won 108
seats in the 300 seat parliament only because the top party
automatically gets an extra 50 seats.  The formerly ruling Pasok
party garnered 13.23%,  losing more than 30%. They will have 41
seats.  Most of their former ministers did not even get
re-elected, including the hated Yiorgos Papaconstantinou, who as
finance minister signed the first Troika memorandum, went on to
become energy and environmental minister, from which post he
pushed for Project Helios, the Greek equivalent of Desertec.
Incompetent as solar power is, the idea behind Helios was for
Greece to help pay down its debt by selling the electricity from
Helios to the de-nuclearized Germany.
Thus the two pro-memorandum parties could only muster about
32% of the vote. Literally all the other parties, including most
of which will not be entering Parliament, were against the
memorandum.
The big winner was the anti-memorandum Coalition of the
Radical Left (Syriza), which got 16.73% or a 300% increase and
will have 52 seats.  The other big winners were the
anti-memorandum Independent Greeks which was formed only a few
weeks ago, and won 10.57%, or 33 seats; the Communist Party (KKE)
with 8.46%, for 26 seats; the extreme-right Golden Dawn with
6.96%, or 21 seats; and Democratic Left won 6.09%, for 19 seats.
Although it is not as anti-memorandum as the others, its leader
Fotis Kouvelis said he will not join a New Democracy- Pasok
government.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras will have three days to
form a government. He has met with Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras whose
subsequent statement denounced any idea of cooperation based on
implementing the memorandum, saying, “We strongly believe that
the country’s salvation will achieved through the rejection of
these barbaric measures, through relief from recession and the
looting of pensions and salaries, through the cancellation of
austerity measures and their replacement with measures to boost
the economy and tax built-up wealth, so that funds are found to
help the weaker sections” of society. He added that Samaras’ bid
to form a “national salvation” government would not be a
salvation but a “tragedy.” He concluded that “after the people
have spoken, [there is] a chance for a radically different
course…. We issue a clear warning to all parties, inside the
country and outside the country, to respect the expression of the
electorate.”
Earlier in a post-election statement Tsipras said the
austerity policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel “have
suffered a crushing defeat.” He said his party’s showing in the
elections constituted a “strong message, to Greece and to Europe,
to overturn the {status quo}” and “a message of peaceful
revolution…. The peoples of Europe cannot be reconciled with
barbaric memorandums.”
The KKE refused to even meet with Samaras, and his overtures
will no doubt be rejected by Panos Kammenos whose Independent
Greeks is stridently anti-memorandum and has been calling for
more economic cooperation with Russia and the nationalization of
the Bank of Greece.  Samaras will most likely fail to win over
the Democratic Left party, whose leader  Fotis Kouvelis had
already repeated his rejection of cooperation since  “The
[election] results show people’s frustration and anger.”
If Samaras fails, the mandate to form a government goes to
Tsipras, but he will have little luck, since he doesn’t have the
additional 50 seats that were given to Samaras. After Tsipras,
the mandate would go to Pasok which doesn’t have a snowball’s
chance in hell of forming a government.  Under those
circumstances, Greek President Karolos Papoulias has the right to
broker a deal to create a national unity administration, and if
that falls through, Greece will have to go to new elections,
possibly as early as June 17.
A Greek Schiller Institute collaborator said that now is the
time to push very hard to get the Glass-Steagall reform and the
policy of a Marshall Plan for Southern Europe directly into the
hands of the Syriza, the Independent Greeks, and the Democratic
Left.

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