Archive for November, 2011

The day after in Greece – an indescribable government presenting a déjà vu programme

Today, Monday 14 November 2011, a new act opens in the Greek tragicomedy. Mr. Lucas Papademos’new government is presenting its programme in Parliament in a few minutes. At the same time, several unions, supported by left wing forces and parties, are demonstrating in Syntagma Square.

The whole Sunday we have been bombarded by opinion polls: the Greek people’s acceptance of the new government ranges, according to the dominant mass media, from 75 to 80%. This percentage can be interpreted in many ways: the Greek public is exhausted by the policies of PASOK and expects something better from a new Prime Minister, who is an acknowledged and capable economist. Unfortunately, in this euphoria they forget that the “new government” is anything but new, that the austerity measures have been agreed and will be enforced, that new cuts are constantly announced and that unemployment is galloping. There is a section of the population, those who have been worst hit, who are doubtful but still want to hope. On the other hand, one must keep in mind that the propaganda machine of the ruling forces is working overtime to give the austerity measures a “face lift”.

 

The new government’s perspectives

 

PASOK seems to be the only winner in this situation: It has managed to make its main opponent (New Democracy)  part of the crisis by its participation in the interim government.  The new government will ratify the harsh austerity measures Mr. Papandreou agreed to and will therefore take a part of the blame. The 6th installment of the loan will be delivered and elections have been postponed till mid February.

 

A further proof of the PASOK adventurism is the inclusion of LAOS in this “new” government. This move “legitimizes” to the eyes of the people a xenophobic, fascist prone party. The repercussions of this decision may be graver than is now estimated.

 

The big losers are the Greek working people whose voice is utterly drowned. The ousting of Mr.Papandreou has satisfied the feelings of betrayal but in the long run will not be of much use since the policies will not change.

The only visible solution is national elections the soonest possible and under a new electoral law that will allow a change in the balance of powers. This change is necessary in order to change the policies implemented.

Waiting for Godot in modern Greece

Greeks are very fond of the theatre. Athens, in this economic crisis, has an incredible number of theaters, most of them doing well.

This last week we are all taking part in a theatre of the absurd performance. We have a non-existing government, it took us three days to find a Prime Minister and, the worst of all is that we know that Mr. Papadimos can do very little for us.

Like Beckett’s heroes we are waiting for a savior that we know will not come. We are waiting for an ex-machina god that we know is not coming and even if he comes the Greek people are certain that it will mean very little for their daily lives. The conversations in the buses, in the shops, in restaurants are all about how we are going to pay this and that tax, how much our pensions/salaries have shrunk, how we can feed our family on European prices and third world salaries.

Greek politicians have lost their credibility. Mr. Papadimos opened his first statement as a Prime Minister with the sentence : “I am no politician”. It was meant to pacify the Greek public and reassure us.

Last night we heard that the new Ministers would be announced today at 14.00. This morning we were told that they will be announced at 16.00. In the end, who cares?

Solidarity and cooperation among the working people, the unemployed, the youth, the student body is the only way out. We are striving to keep our humanity and our common sense intact in difficult times.

Loukas Papadimos new Greek Prime Minister

After 3 hours of discussion Mr. Papandreou, leader of the ruling party of PASOK, Antonis Samaras, leader of the New Democracy – major opposition party and Mr.George Karatzaferis, leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), a far right party, have announced their agreement for the appointment of Mr. Loukas Papadimos to the post of Prime Minister.

In his first statement exiting from the Presidential residence Mr. Papadimos was very unitary; he called the new government “a government of broad cooperation” and a “transitional government”. He stressed that “Greece is at a crossroads” and  the choices made by this government will be decisive. He added that in his opinion the the participation of Greece in the Eurozone is a factor of stability for the country and we can be optimistic for the final result if we stay united. He closed his brief statement saying that there were no conditions put on any party leader.

The new Ministers will be announced tomorrow at 14.00.

Mr. Papadimos CV on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Papademos

Mr. L.Papademos front runner in the quest for a Greek Prime Minister

At midnight, the time ghosts start roaming, Mr. Papandreou called Mr. Samaras and suggested Mr. Lucas Papademos as the Prime Minister to head the coalition, salvation or transitional government still to be formed. According to news reports Mr. Papandreou contacted Mr. Papademos who accepted the nomination under certain conditions. Then Mr.Papandreou spoke with Mr. Samaras and the outcome was that Mr.Samaras will speak directly with Mr. Papademos to discuss the terms.

Mr. Papademos asked that the new government states unequivocably its acceptance of the October agreement, that New Democracy leading personalities take part in the government and that the elections day should be more flexible, by about a fortnight, if necessary. On the other hand, he also stated that he has no problem with the present personnel of the Finance Ministry carrying on.

Mr.L.Papademos’name had been mentioned before from journalists and according to a leak from the PASOK side his candidacy had been rejected by the New Democracy leadership. This leak was vehemently denounced by the New Democracy but it is a sign of what kind of “co-operation” we can expect.

Greek government still pending

After repeated failures it was announced at the nine o’clock news that discussions will be resumed tomorrow between the leaders of PASOK and New Democracy. Journalists, claiming various “sources” mentioned the names of Mr. Papadimos, who flatly stated that he had not been approached, then Dr. Vassilis Skouris’name was withdrawn. Parliament Chairman Philipos Petsalnikos was, apparently, vetoed by the New Democracy MPs.

The best comment I read was posted by a friend on Facebook: “I prefer Greece without a government. It is the first week this year that no new tax was imposed and no more pension cuts were made”.

 

Government thriller nears an end

After a night of endless discussions the Greek farce “in search of a government” comes to an end.

The morning news programmes of the Greek TV, claiming Reuters reports, announced that the “most probable” name for a Prime Minister is that of Dr.Vassilis Skouris, President of the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

It has been made clear that no New Democracy Parliamentarian will be a member of this government. Indicative of the situation between the two biggest parties in Greece is that while PASOK MPs, like Mr. Hytiris, call this a “cooperation government” New Democracy MPs call it a “government of transition”. This does not augur well for the very difficult tasks facing the Greek people in the immediate future.

 

Wanted: Prime Minister for Greece – no reward

The Greek citizens have been waiting for three days – yes, three whole days – for the bi-party leaderships to agree on what? On forming a government and appointing a new Prime Minister!!

This feat has not yet been achieved. While waiting, the Greek people have been living with the fear of new taxes and cuts being imposed.

The European Union leadership, on the other hand, is concerned only with the payment of the debt. It is worth wondering whether European leaders realize that they were elected to serve their people and not their banks and corporations.

Presently, the Greek public is still waiting for PASOK and New Democracy to form a government and nominate a Prime Minister. In the meantime both parties have agreed on the date of the elections.

The argument of the left wing parties, which is echoed by the “enraged” movement, is that the present government is illegal. They ask for elections in order to have a government that will represent the present relation of power in the Parliament.

At the moment, the Council of Ministers is meeting and we are expecting developments any moment.