The two party system in disarray

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Yesterday’s parliamentary election results in Greece are the first sign that the entire political system in that country is in the process of recomposition. They signal the shattering and probably final destruction of the two party system, New Democracy (in the same European group as Fine Gael) and PASOK (in the same European group as the Labour Party) that has governed the country since the end of the military junta in 1974.

While all the late polls had indicated that the two parties would suffer a defeat, the final results went beyond any conceivable nightmare the two party leaderships may had imagined.Who would have thought that New Democracy, though first in preferences, would have received less than 20% of the votes, less than 15% from its latest election results and its worst percentage in its 40 year history?  PASOK, on the other hand, went even worse, getting just about 14% compared to the 44% it had received in the last elections.

The ND leader Mr Samaras, who provoked the early elections, arguing that his objective was to get enough votes to be able to govern on his own, must be feeling the pressure mounting around him. As, I’m, writing these lines, he is to visit the country’s President to get the instruction to form a government.-to follow.While New Democracy may be in the throes of its worst ever crisis, the situation with PASOK, the Party that led the country during the lat 2 years of the crisis, and was in the headlines both for the first and the second bailout, is even worse. A party that had received 44% 2.5 years ago is now down to 14% and it’s almost impossible to conceive a growth process for it right now…..my view is that this social democratic organisation has completed its cycle and will have to give way to another political recomposed organisation that would assume the role of representing the soft left community from now on.

This is an issue that would be decided not by journalists or commentators but by PASOK party members in the not-so-far future.

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The almost unexpected winner of the election has been the left organisation SYRIZA, a member of the European Left Group along with Sinn Fein and the ULA. Their peaceful anti-bailout line, with its parliamentary overtones, made the party climb from 4% to over 16% in the elections!! It expressed in the most eloquent way how the Greek people feel about the tragedy their country has been made the object of by the European austerity policies. Its leader, the 37-year old Mr Tsipras, stated in national TV last night, that he is not prepared to co-operate in any possible way with New Democracy and PASOK, but that he wants instead to lead a Left Government.

The fact that SYRIZA, for the first time in its history, won almost double the votes of the old traditional Greek Communist Party (KKE) is in itself of significance as it opens the path for a recomposition of the Left in the country. Finally, of major significance is also the fact that the support of the  two pro-bailout parties, ND and PASOK, took a serious hammering in Athens, Piraeus and the surrounding areas – worst hit by the austerity imposed by the two bailouts.

The PASOK percentage in this politically sensitive area has not even reached 10% while the ND figures have hovered around 12-13%. This means that over 75% of the voters in this key area voted against the two-party system and the bailouts. It heralds the way for the developments to follow over the next few days because it’s inconceivable that Greece can be governed by a coalition against which 75% of the people living around the capital are clearly unhappy about.

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2 Responses

  1. Michael Youlton

    May 8, 2012 10:20 am

    To bring the above article to date, the New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, having visited the President late yesterday afternoon, has publicly declared that he would be unable to form a functioning government b ecause no other partry would co-operate with him.. The President, as he is constitutionally obliged, has now invited the leader of the SYRIZA Party Tsipras, the organisation that received the second largest number of votes, to visit him and consider forming a new government. As I’m writing these lines, negotiations on this historic development to form a Left Government are still continuing. To follow closely.
    As expected, of course, messages from Merkel and the rest of the German elite have come hard and fast, threatening the Greek people with bankruptcy and destruction.

  2. Jim Monaghan

    May 8, 2012 3:53 pm

    http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article25117
    http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article25119
    http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article25118
    There is a touch of the “after Hitler, our turn” with the analysis of the KKE. They expect Syriza to sell out. They may be right if it is tempted to form a coalition with any of the discredited parties esp. PASOK.
    Syriza have called for left unity, which I agree with. But it should be nailed dow,
    Immediate withdrawal from NATO.
    An end of wasteful military expenditure. The KKE site gave figures which are incredible.Can the army be trusted nt to intervene?
    Withdrawal from the EU and the Euro if the blackmail persists.
    A constituent assembly for a new Greece.
    Greece is important for us as we are just a wee way behind them with this crisis.
    Hopefully the fate of PASOK will give Gilmore and co. well deserved nightmares.