Monday, June 18, 2012

More on the Greek election and the days after

Roy Gutman and Apostolis Fotiadis in Pro-bailout party wins in Greece, reassuring a jittery Europe McClatchy News 06/17/2012 stress the significance of the losses on Sunday by the Greek social-democratic party Pasok:

Sunday’s election confirmed the collapse in support for PASOK, which in 2009 had 43.92 percent of the vote and 160 seats, but in the latest round only 12.38 percent and 33 seats. The biggest single loser in the latest round was Greece’s Soviet-style Communist party, whose support fell to 4.51 percent or 12 seats from 8.48 percent and 26 seats in May – possibly a rebuff by voters disenchanted over the party’s refusal to consider a coalition with Syriza.

The Golden Dawn party, denounced by critics as neo-fascist and even neo-Nazi, will be in the new parliament with 18 seats, having won 6.91 percent of the vote, a slight reduction in the 6.97 percent result it won in May.

The election divided the country on generational lines, with younger people voting en masse for Syriza and those over 50 giving significant support to New Democracy. There was also an urban-rural divide, with voters in cities leaning toward Syriza while and those in the countryside favored New Democracy. In the Athens suburbs, Syriza led New Democracy by 17.5 points.
Pasok (social democratic party) leader Evangelos Venizelos is in a rush to get into a coalition government with election winner New Democracy (ND), saying he wants to have a coalition agreement by Tuesday afternoon. (They have until Wednesday.) Pasok has to be wondering if they have already gone from being one of the two major parties to being permanently a small party. With both Pasok and ND completely on board with Angie's austerity program, pro-austerity voters can vote for ND and those opposed to austerity can vote for Syriza.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to insist that Greece has to follow the draconian austerity requirements of the EU/ECB/IMF (Troika) "bailout" memoranda that have shrunk the Greek economy by some 20% since 2009.

There was a bit of a flap caused by Angie's Foreign Minister Guido (Guido Westerwelle) when he suggested out loud after the Greek election that he and Angie might be willing to give them more time to hit their suicidal austerity targets. Angie seemed to contradict him, then Guido made another statement mealy-mouthing about it. (Severin Weiland, Rabattschlacht um Griechenland Spiegel Online 18.06.2012)

Paul Krugman talks to the PBS Newshour on the current European dilemma, Paul Krugman on Germany's 'Whips and Scourges' 6/18/2012:

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