Archive for May, 2012

Who is afraid of SYRIZA?

May 6 elections in Greece was a political earthquake. The two parties  – PASOK and New Democracy – that had monopolized government and power in the post dictatorship Greece were thoroughly beaten. The problem is that while the people decided that these two needed a thrashing, the clientele system that they had established together with the fear of the new and the electoral system (the party that wins the largest number of votes on a Panhellenic scale gets a bonus of 50 Parliaments seats!) prevented a decisive victory by any other political force.

Now, almost a month before the new elections, the ruling elite is using all its reserves to attack the one power  they consider a threat: SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras. Television is still the main source of information for thousands of people and it is used to spread all sorts of half truths, misinterpretation and in some cases outright lies against the Coalition of Radical Feft. On round tables, on interviews, even during the news broadcasts the private tv channels fire in unison against any idea put forward by the SYRIZA representatives. One wonders why …

It is my belief that the last elections and the disintegration of PASOK left a gap: Greek citizens who consider themselves “centrists” are now left homeless.The recent actions of both formerly big parties bear witness to this. Mr. Samaras will cooperate in the coming elections with the Democratic Alliance of Dora Bakoyianni, former Foreign Affairs Minister in a New Democracy government. Ms Bakoyianni, daughter of Mr. Kostas Mitsotakis, was Mr. Samaras’rival for the leadership of New Democracy. Ms Bakoyianni left New Democracy when Mr. Samaras refused to sign the first Memorandum and formed her own party which fared very badly at the last elections. What’s more Mr. Samaras is welcoming to New Democracy MPs from the Popular Orthodox Rally, like Mr. Adonis Georgiadis and Mr. Voridis. His aim is to form a center-right party.

Mr. Venizelos has a much more difficult task because Members of Parliament of PASOK, who disagree with the bailout and the austerity measures which accompany it, have left the party and either formed new parties or joined other parties. He is therefore playing his last card, that of Europe and the changing balance of power there. Mr. Venizelos had a private meeting with Mr. Hollande who refused to see Mr. Tsipras, with the excuse that they belong to the same political family, that is socialdemocracy, or centre left…

The veiled threat that if you vote left then all sorts of catastrophes will befall the country is an argument that needs no answer except a sense of humor and is extensively used by both old parties. The Greek electorate is maturing fast and we shall soon see how far these tactics will influence them.

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Albanian Journalist issued deportation order

Just read on facebook that Nico Ago, an Albanian journalist living in Greece for the last twenty years has been served with a deportation order! Mr. Ago, a respected member of his trade, has lived and practiced journalism in Greece for the last twenty years. He was asked today to leave Greece within 30 days because he lacked a number of social security stamps in 2007 and thus was not eligible for a renewal of his residence permit.

During these years he has been employed by various newspapers and radio stations, he has contributed to magazines and his work was always acclaimed as excellent. A couple of years ago Mr. Ago was among the organisers of “a day without us”: a day when immigrants stayed away from all activity to show their contribution to the Greek economic and social life. Last year Mr. Ago was the coordinator of the Athens’ Municipality radio station’s presentation of writers who wrote about immigration, both Greek and foreign.

Niko Ago

His blog has been an inspiration for me and I invite those of you who can read Greek or Albanian to visit it at http://odromos.wordpress.com/

I hope and wish that the Greek Journalists Association (ESIEA) will  do their best against blind bureaucracy that has a smell of racism about it.

Leaders’meeting bears “bitter” fruit

Mr.Panayotis Pikramenos, Head of the State Council, whose name in Greek means “embittered”, has been appointed caretaker Prime Minister till  new elections on June 17.

Mr. Panayotis Pikrammenos

The decision for the new elections was reached on the 15th of May after all efforts to form a government failed. There is a bitter struggle going on among the political parties to blame each other for this failure and especially SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left). The mood of the Greek citizens, tired of the fruitless austerity measures, humiliated by the attitude of its European partners, living in a state of fear craftily cultivated by government circles is impatient and changeable. The results of the May 6 elections have shaken the two parties that have governed Greece for the last 30 years. Three opinion polls that have been published in the last week all show that SYRIZA will be the big winner of the new elections but whether we shall have a government is still uncertain. SYRIZA has made it clear that it aims for a left wing government, a difficult task since the Communist Party of Greece has refused point blanc to take part in government and the other left wing formations do not have the necessary parliamentary power.

New elections in Greece within 21 days

Today’s meeting of the political leaders of all parties represented in the Greek Parliament except Aleca Papariga, Secretary General of the Communist Party who refused to attend and Mr. Mihaloliakos of the nationalist socialist (NAZI) Golden Dawn who was not invited. It was apparent from previous statements that the State President’s proposal for a government of personalities would be rejected.

The statements of the various parties after the meeting made it clear that while the formation of a government was possible with the participation of New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left this was not achieved. The reasons given were not very convincing but it appears that they all blame it on the refusal of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) to be part of it too.

Opinion polls give SYRIZA a much higher percentage if new elections are held and this could be the reason the old guard want to either include them in the government or discredit them for not participating.

 

 

The Greek people have just watched the political leaders leave the State President’s Residence without a decision. The most probable scenario is new elections.

Instead of any other comments let me share with you a short film I found really moving. Comments on the situation later.

w6eYoRIUVKg

 

Greece still struggling to form a government

A new meeting of the four political leaders who achieved the best results at the recent Greek elections is planned at the State Residence today. At 14.00 State President Karolos Papoulias will receive Antonis Samaras, Alexis Tsipras, Evangelos Venizelos, Panos Kammenos (leader of Independent Greeks, a newly formed party which scored 10.60% and 33 seats)  and Fotis Kouvelis to discuss the Presidency’s proposal for the formation of a Government of personalities which will lead the country to new elections at an unspecified later date.

 

 

The “old” political guard refuses to acknowledge the message of the Greek elections

The mandate to form a government, which “circulated” for a week among the three parties which scored the best results, is now in the hands of the State President Mr. Karolos Papoulias. Right now, 13.00 on Sunday May 13 2012, the three leaders – Mr. Antonis Samaras of New Democracy, Mr. Alexis Tsipras of SYRIZA and Mr. Evangelos Venizelos of PASOK, are meeting in order to make one more effort to overcome their differences and form a government.

Tsipras is to blame for everything and dont call for your mom. He is sending her to Siberia

The situation today is that, with the intervention of Democratic Left ( it scored 6,11% and got 19 seats in Parliament), a government could be formed with the participation of New Democracy, PASOK, SYRIZA and themselves. Mr. Kouvelis’ proposal is faced favorably by all parties except SYRIZA, the only party that is totally against the memoranda signed by the previous governments. While every effort is made to blame this non-cooperation on SYRIZA it must be noted that there are enough seats and numbers for the other three parties to go forward. The insistence of Mr. Kouvelis can be interpreted in many ways: the three parties want SYRIZA to get involved in order to discredit it but also to use it as a left wing alibi but also they want to avoid the blame for the policies that brought Greece to the economic chaos of today and undermined its social cohesion.

“The popular vote was clear: a change of policy is obligatory. How can we take part in a government that will continue with these policies? These three parties cannot understand that there is another way to negotiate, there is a third way ” was the unofficial statement from SYRIZA according to a state television journalist.