The Financial Times reports Greek right a hostage to its own failures.
On June 17, Stathis Potamitis, managing partner at an Athens law firm, plans to break a promise he has kept since his participation in a 1970s clandestine student group that opposed Greece’s military dictatorship. He will vote for the right.
“I’m now driven to the dreadful situation of having to vote for this man who is one of the causes of the problems we have right now,” he says, referring to Antonis Samaras, New Democracy’s leader. His friend, Niki Siropoulou, a marketing executive, is more succinct. “I have to vote for a complete idiot,” she says.
Polls show New Democracy running a close race with Syriza – but it is hardly inspiring. “Terror-mongering will only get you so far,” Mr Potamitis complains.
In a troubling sign for Mr Samaras, the MRB research firm found last week that educated voters aged 45 to 55 were tilting toward Syriza. Such voters – with children, mortgages and other duties – would normally seem unlikely supporters of a self-described “radical” party.
Dimitris Mavros, head of MRB, speculates that the scale of Greece’s crisis has left many believing it is now too risky to stick with the status quo. “They have no room to go back and say, ‘Ok, let’s wait three or four years for Greece to re-set,’” Mr Mavros says.
Close allies view Mr Samaras’ predicament with a sense of tragedy. He opposed the austere terms of Greece’s first bailout, arguing it would strangle the economy, before eventually signing under pressure from EU leaders.
At the party’s headquarters in a sleek Athens office building, Chryssanthos Lazarides, Mr Samaras’ chief adviser, calls the May 6 contest “the last of the post-dictatorship era”.
He defends his boss’s decision to press for early elections, arguing that the rapidly deteriorating economy was benefiting Syriza by swelling the ranks of the unemployed.
“This is a pool of desperate people. They have lost everything – or think they have lost everything,” he says. “We wanted elections soon because after June there would be a Bolshevik government.”
- Although I believe the Radical left will win the election it is entirely possible “known idiots” win.
- The election might be stolen.
- People might legitimately decide to give New Democracy one more chance.
- Lastly, the military might forcibly takeover shortly after the election if it does not like the results.
The worst outcome is a military takeover.
The best outcome for Greece is if the Radical Left wins, cancels the bailouts, and riots do not ensue. Then from the depths of the depression, perhaps new leaders with sensible policies emerge.
Near-term, regardless of who wins (or takes over), there is going to be a lot more pain for Greece.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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