Posts tagged ‘Alexis Tsipras’

All the President’s women – part two

TsarouhaThe Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace of previous governments has become part of the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform, a “demotion” according to right wing politicians, has been given to Ms. Maria Kolia – Tsarouha. Ms. Tsarouha was first elected in her home town, Serres, in 2000, with New Democracy. In 2012, after refusing to sign the second mnemonium, she was ousted from New Democracy and joined the Independent Greeks Party. It is considered common knowledge that Ms Kollia-Tsarouha belongs to the close circle of ex-Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, former President of New Democracy.

KountouraMs Eleni Kountoura is Deputy Minister for tourism. She has followed more or less the same route as Ms Kollia: from New Democracy to the Independent Greeks and now to the ministry. She is a graduate of the Gymnastics Academy of Athens and a champion athlete. True to their reputation Greek mass media concentrate on her international career as a top model….We are looking forward to her efforts to boost Greek tourism.

Rania Antonopoulou, deputy Minister for the reduction of unemployment comes from the academic sector. She gave up her teaching post in Bard College to offer her services to the most difficult task of this government: unemployment. Due to her long stay abroad she is not very well known in Greece.


The percentage of women in the present Parliament is 23,5%, higher than in previous Parliaments but still not as high as the goal of 33% set by the Greek women’s movement.

All the President’s women…

(An old post that was never ….posted. Personal issues kept me away but today, seeing the attack on two of the President’s women I have decided to post it without corrections but with some additions. Hope you all had a good Easter holiday )

First of February: Athens is covered in an off white sandy veil. The miniature sand storm comes from Africa and it visits Greece regularly three or four times a year.

It is customary to wish each other “Kalo mina” – Happy new month – at the beginning of every month. This month the wish has a special meaning.

The new Greek government is a fact. Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has won the elections and managed to form a government allying itself with right wing Independent Greeks party.

The composition of the government has been analysed according to the media’s assessment of each Minister’s news worthiness. Mr. Yannis Varoufakis, for example, has appeared on the BBC, Alexis Tsipras on every other tv station and/or newspaper. I want to speak about the members of the new government who have not reached tv star status.

zoi-konstantopoulouFirst of all in a 41 person government I counted 6 women plus the new Parliament Chairwoman, Ms. Zoe Konstantopoulou. Ms. Kostantopoulou is the daughter of a very prominent attorney (he was one of the judges in the Greek junta trial) and popular political figure, Nicos Konstantopoulos who headed Synaspismos, the major component of SYRIZA, from 1993 to 2004. Ms Zoe Konstantopoulou a well known lawyer in her own right has become famous for her spirited spats with opposition MPs during her first four years in Parliament. Everyone looks forward to her handling of her new post.

valavaniMs. Nantia Valavani, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finances, is a graduate of the Economics University of Athens and holds a doctorate from the Communication and Mass Media dpt of the same University. Ms.Valavani combines the abilities of a competent economist with the sensitivity of a literary critic: she is one of the most prominent Bertolt Brecht scholars. Born in 1954 she took part in the anti-dictatorship resistance originally in her native Crete and later, as a student in Athens where she was arrested and imprisoned for months.

Tasia Christodoulopoulou, Deputy Minister for immigration, is a prominent lawyer and human rights activist.xristodoulopoulou

Mass disinformation media


With less than fifteen days to crucial national elections it is educative to watch the actions of the Greek mass media. Most of the nation-wide private channels operate with temporary licenses, with all the consequences this can have….. When SYRIZA asked in Parliament whether radio and television stations pay the required fees for the air frequencies used the government answer was cryptic…..  The abrupt shutting down of the public television signalled the most massive reaction to the government’s policies from citizens of all parties.

The picture today is disappointing  in the majority of nation wide private tv stations.  News reports are biased, foreign press reports are misrepresented, journalists coordinating panels are practically absent, allowing the loudest to rule the discussion and driving the public away… At a recent poll about what Greek people do most on their pcs the answer was “watch the news”. In a country where information technology is not an everyday word more and more people turn to internet sources to be properly informed about what happens in the world but in their own country too.

I found the best example in “Efimerida ton Syntakton” (it means the “Editors Newspaper”( They have a picture from MEGA channel’s news where the name of the rising, Spanish left wing movement “Podemos” is translated as “polemos” which in Greek means war!!! This “lapse” appeared to link SYRIZA with war!!


Lost in  the translation

Lost in the translation

According to SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras the connection between the present government, private banks and private radio and television organisations is cloudy to say the least. When healthy businesses are unable to find loans television channels, already debt-ridden, are given loans without any guarantees…


Greek opinion polls show SYRIZA win: yet people prefer Samaras as Prime Minister!


Opinion polls in Greece depict, most accurately, the citizens ‘confusion and despair much more than anything else!

Let me share with you the latest one I found on TVXS (a site run by journalist Stelios Kouloglou, who was one of SYRIZA’s candidates for the European Parliament elections). It was conducted nationwide  by RASS from 29 to 31 October on behalf of


As you can see at the graph above, 26.4% of the electorate have chosen SYRIZA, New Democracy has scored 21.1% while the River, the newest addition to the Greek political scene led by Stavros Theodorakis, another journalist, comes third with 5.8%. The Communist Party of Greece reaches 5. 4% ,just 0.3% more than the extreme right wing Golden Dawn. The social democratic PASOK and the right wing Independent Greeks barely make it into Parliament while Democratic Left of Mr. Fotis Kouvelis stays out with 1%!.

On the other hand, the electorate appears divided on the question of early elections. 47.3 consider early elections a catastrophe for the economy while 46.1% hold the opposite view. Mr. Samaras is considered a better bet for Prime Minister by 35.2% while Alexis Tsipras follows with 27.9% thus choosing the leader of New Democracy ahead of the leader of SYRIZA, the party they are going to vote for!

One explanation for this division of public opinion is the role played by the mainstream mass media. According to most of them Greek economy is recovering and a change of government would destroy any chance of ending austerity! The result of this one-sided information has led to mistrust of the media and an increase of internet news sites which people seem to trust more.

The Greek people keep hearing that the Greek economy is recovering but fail to see this recovery mirrored in their living standards. Over taxation, repeated mistakes in its calculation coupled with increasing inefficiency of infrastructure in health care, transportation and education turn citizens into cynical, mistrusting people.


Greek Government: out of the frying pan into the fire!

While the mass transport system seems to be back in operation, the Greek government is faced with a new challenge. Subway, suburban railway and trolley employees have halted their strike while bus drivers are still debating their next move.

In the meantime the agricultural world has started mobilizing with its own demands. Tractors are collecting in Lamia, central Greece, and near Kilkis, more to the North.

According to local reports ( the farmers’leaders stated that they will remain at their posts until their representatives, who are at the moment in Athens meeting with parties and government representatives, are satisfied that their demands will be met.
“We shall be everywhere, on the national roads, the ports, the airports, the customs, at the frontiers. Whether tractors will be removed depends on the outcome of the meetings with political leaders and Ministers. If the outcome does not satisfy us we shall close the roads indefinitely. It is in the hands of the government whether it will satisfy our demands.”

The farmers’ main demands are the price of petrol, the production cost, the VAT and the taxation system – “which may be the greatest trap” as they claim.

In the morning the farmer’s representatives met with Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA leader, who assured them that he would bring the matter to the Parliament. They are currently meeting with leaders from other parties.


Monday 19 November opinion poll reveals confusion of Greek society

On Monday 19 November, in his weekly broadcast called “Anatropi” (Reversal or overthrow) Yiannis Pretenteris, a well-known but not much loved journalist, presented the latest opinion poll carried out by GPO on behalf of MEGA channel.

The numbers have remained more or less the same with previous polls:

SYRIZA                                  22.3%

New Democracy                   20.1%

Golden Dawn                       10.3%

PASOK                                    7.5%

Independent Greeks           6.5%

KKE                                        4.6%

DHMAR                                 5.00%

Another party                     4.4%

Blanc/abstention               9.1%

Refused to answer          10.2%

It is interesting to note that the poll took place immediately after the austerity measures were voted in Parliament. In spite of the people’s indignation and despair against these measures Mr.Samaras was voted as the best man for the PM’s job by 44.5% of the poll participants with Mr. Tsipras of SYRIZA lagging behind him with 33%. In addition it must be noted that 43.9% of the people believe that the government did not negotiate at all while 40% believe that the Government negotiated but not efficiently.

Another worth noting result is that the vast majority of people think that new elections will not solve the problem (71.2%) while 73.90 regard a SYRIZA government as a negative development.

Keeping in mind that opinion polls are rarely trustworthy the results of this particular one demonstrate the utter confusion of Greek society.

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.