Will the Gamble Pay?: SYRIZA and the Οthers
It was definitely a gamble the decision by Greek PM Alexis Tsipras to resign opting for a snap election. His aim was to set the ballot box in the shortest possible time denying his internal opposition forces the chance to organize and form a viable political alternative. However, he had not studied in full the provisions of the Constitution. Which makes it obligatory for the President of the Republic to invite the rest of the political leaders to explore the possibility of forming a government. No matter whether this is unfeasible, it is nevertheless time consuming. During the time of exploring alternative coalition solutions and the usual political infighting the anti-Tsipras forces within his own party found the chance to get together and form a new political organization – Popular Unity (LAE). Thus SYRIZA has now split between LAE, the mainstream Tsipras majority, the Speaker of the Parliament Mrs Konstantopoulou and a number of other influential figures who either do not support anyone and choose to resign from politics or look elsewhere. This may have grave consequences for the fate of SYRIZA in the upcoming elections.
It is not however everything bleak and depressing for Tsipras. His opponents from within SYRIZA it is very difficult to poll a considerable number of votes without ample preparation and an efficient orgnizational apparatus. The fact also that Tsipras adapted a more pro-Europe stand offers him the possibility to penetrate deep in the ranks of the voting public of some of his more conservative opponents. His partner in government Kammenos (ANEL party) is very doubtful whether will succeed in entering Parliament again. Most of his votes will most probably be won by SYRIZA. Likewise, something similar may happen with PASOK and Potami parties whose pro-european stance is now imitated by Tsipras and SYRIZA. Why then some – or all – of their votes would not end up supporting a party with similar views and with stronger credentials to be the next government.
The big question mark is the conservative ND party. If it relies in a political platform of ‘some of he same’, ie supporting Europe, the bailout programs and politics of clientelism and support of the public sector, it runs the risk of facing the prospect of a devastating defeat. Why should someone vote a party of the old, instead of the new fresh face of SYRIZA’s Prime Minister who supports a big public sector, its Trade Union off shoots and heavy financial hand outs to everyone who requests them. And he now has the funds, since Europe is all out behind him. ND however has another card to lay. It can draw a distance from its unpopular and traditional past by maintaining its insistence in cutting taxes and keeping safe salaries and pensions but decide to limit the size of the public sector. Discover adequate financial strength therefore to replace the reduction in taxation by cutting down on public spending and courageously limiting beraucracy. This is the only way to attract foreign investment and get the economy running.
Would ND opt for this kind of policy? It is quite doubtful. Because it has to combat its insticts and previous practices. It is the only way however to offer to the electorate something different with the prospect of ending the bailout imprisonment. Otherwise, Tsipras’ gamble my pay off. He will win the election without, however, full majority. This would necessitate the formation of a new post-election party coalition which would reproduce the same political problems that lead to the election. It is anyone’s guess what the future will hold for the country and the people. Especially in the face of a grave international economic situation and a polarized world affairs political environment.