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Issue #1670      January 28, 2015

Greek elections

No historic or radical change

The results of elections in Greece on Sunday January 25, that elevated SYRIZA to the position of the first party which will no doubt form a government with the support of minor social democratic parties, did not come as a surprise to most people. On the contrary they were more or less expected.

The final count of votes gives SYRIZA 36.1% of the popular vote and 149 members of Parliament, two short of the number needed to form a government, the Communist Party of Greece 5.6% and 15 MPs, POTAMI (River) 6% and 16 MPs, Golden Down (neo-Nazi) 6.3 % and 17 MPs, ANEL (Independent Greeks) 4.7%.and 13 MPs and PASOK 4.7% and 13 MPs. It is worth noting that apart from SYRIZA the only Party that increased its vote compared with the last elections is the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

It is certain SYRIZA will form a government with the support of some minor social democratic and possibly right-wing parties. However the change of government in Greece will not bring a historic or radical change in the country’s political and economic life, as some of the local and international media propagate.

The projection and promotion SYRIZA received during the pre-election campaign by the media and other influential and powerful sections of the capitalist establishment left no doubt about the intensions of the Greek ruling class to prepare for a change of government and to send the message that the new party in government, not withstanding its “radical” phraseology, would follow the road of capitalist development with huge profits for the employers, the road of the European Union memorandums, the road of austerity for the people.

The Greek people, who were angered and disappointed by the severity of the austerity programs applied by the conservative government of New Democracy, supported by PASOK [social democrats], were looking for a change, hoping that by replacing in government a bourgeois party by another, more “progressive” and modern would alleviate their problems and would free them from the misery and poverty inflicted by previous governments under the directions of the EU and IMF.

Some of the media closely associated with the Greek government promoted the idea that should SYRIZA win the elections Greece would leave the EU (the so-called Grexit theory) and the country would dive into uncertainty and economic disaster. This theory wins the minds of the more conservative voters but has nothing in common with reality.

SYRIZA is not the kind of a party that would sever relations with the EU and follow a non-capitalist road of development. The party’s leader and incoming Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, stated in a TV interview in May 2014: “Greece belongs to the western framework, the EU and NATO”. He also stated in his victory speech shortly after the election results were known: “We will not go to a new catastrophic rift with Europe”.

SYRIZA’s electoral victory must not be regarded as “a victory of the left” as some people would have us believe. SYRIZA is no longer the party that broke away from the KKE and formed the “Coalition of Left and Progress”. It subsequently was merged with other groupings of a social democratic nature and became SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left). It is left in name only. Recently more than half of PASOK members and cadres joined SYRIZA and voted for it. According to election analysts even 12 percent of conservative voters who had previously voted for the right wing New Democracy, voted for SYRIZA on this occasion.

Despite the change of government, therefore, and the rhetoric about a radical change and a new chapter in Greek history, the situation will remain basically the same. The economic and political structures will remain within the confines of the European Union and NATO and will continue to function within the sphere of interests of the powerful capitalist establishment.

Next article – Concern over welfare card

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