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The Seismic Results in Greece

by ERIC TOUSSAINT

At the May 6 polls, the radical left-wing coalition Syriza becomes the second “party” in numbers of voters as it moves from 4.5% at the previous elections (2009) to 16.8% (52 MPs instead of 13). It is the first party in the major agglomerations and among people aged 18-35.

The Socialist Party (PASOK) lost 2/3 of the votes it had received in 2009 (from 44% to 13.2%, a loss of 119 MPs, from 160 to 41!). PASOK pays ‘cash on the nail’ their rigorous austerity programme and subjection to the ‘Troika’ and big private business interests.

New Democracy, the main right-wing party that entered the government in December 2011, still comes first but with an enormously reduced score down from 33.5% to 18.9%. However, it gains seats because of an iniquitous disposition that grants 50 seats as a   bonus to the party that pooled most votes. So while it lost 40% in votes New Democracy wins 17 MPs (from 91 to 108). On the eve of the elections on May 6, New Democracy only had 71 MPs because of many defecting representatives (PASOK had lost 31 MPs from 2010 to 2012 as a protest against its antipopular stance). While New Democracy only has 2.1% more than Syriza, it has twice as many seats (108 for New Democracy against 52 for Syriza).

Golden Dawn, a neonazi group with paramilitary leanings gets into parliament. From marginal votes it gets close to 7% and 21 MPs. It will thus receive public funding to develop.

The Communist party KKE records a slight progression (from 7.5 to 8.5%, it wins five seats from 21 to 26).

Democratic Left -DIMAR- (that split off from Syriza in 2010-2011) gets 6% votes and 19 MPs.

The Greens don’t reach the 3% threshold to have any MP, as is the case for the far right party LAOS that pays for its participation in the government (it had 17 MPs after the former elections).

Antarsya (far left coalition) stays around 1.1%

Left of PASOK: Syriza + PC (KKE) + Dimar + Antarsya = 97 seats (as for now) instead of 34 seats in 2009. It might be the highest results of left-wing parties since 1958.

On the far right Golden Dawn got 21 seats against 17 for LAOS in 2009.

The showing of the neonazi party is most troubling result (see the analysis of a fast evolving context by Yorgos Mitraliashttp://www.cadtm.org/spip.php?page=imprimer&id_article=7899, in French)

The principal point to be retained from this election is the highly positive result of the Syriza coalition that ran its campaign on the issue of immediate and unconditional suspension of Greek debt repayments for a period of three to five years, the cancellation of austerity measures enforced since 2010, the non-fulfilment of agreements with the Troika, the nationalization of a significant part of the banking sector, the need to set up a left-wing government to implement these measures. Several Syriza MPs actively support a citizens’ audit of the Greek debt and the need to cancel illegitimate debts, among them Sofia Sakorafa, who broke up with Pasok in 2010 as a protest against austerity. We will see whether Syriza will keep this orientation after its electoral success. It is encouraging to know that so many voters supported these radical proposals. The future will tell whether Syriza can meet the challenge of this remarkable popular support. “On his upcoming talks to explore whether he will be able to form a majority coalition with parties of the left and parties representing environmental concerns, the head of Syriza laid out the five points that will be the focus of discussions:

1. The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.

2. The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers’ rights, such as the abolition of collective labor agreements.

3.  The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system.

4. An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock. 5. The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece’s public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.”[1]

The task will not be easy as so far the communist party KKE, with which it would be necessary to enter into an alliance, categorically declines, claiming that Syriza is a pseudo revolutionary party and retreating into some haughty isolation.

See the final results at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/may/06/greece-elections-results-map

The map of votes by constituencies is also most useful. Click on constituencies to see results.

See 2009 and 2012 results: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lections_l%C3%A9gislatives_grecques_de_2012

Eric Toussaint, doctor in political sciences (University of Liège and University of Paris 8), president of CADTM Belgium, member of the president’s commission for auditing the debt in Ecuador (CAIC), member of the scientific council of ATTAC France, coauthor of “La Dette ou la Vie”, Aden-CADTM, 2011, contributor to ATTAC’s book “Le piège de la dette publique. Comment s’en sortir”, published by Les liens qui libèrent, Paris, 2011.

Translated by Mike Krolikovsky and Christine Pagnoulle.

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