Posts tagged ‘Greek elections’

Greek style Menu 2015

Greek coffee shop menu

Greek coffee shop menu

 

A Greek coffee costs an egg, instant coffee (Nescafe) costs 2 eggs, iced Nescafe costs 2 eggs and a bag of ice, a plain tsipouro (ouzo type drink..) costs a bag of mountain grass – “horta” for those of you who understand Greek –but if you want your tsipouro to be accompanied by “meze”, which means fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese or salami it costs a bale of hay. Any other plain drink costs a chicken but a special drink goes up to a kilo of minced meat. The menu continues in the same vein but the best part is in the asterisk:” the above mentioned prices are valid for those who voted for PASOK. Nea Dimokratia voters pay double and all the others pay nothing!!”

The above menu is the biggest hit on Greek Facebook today. The coffee shop with the creative prices is in Ptolemaida, in Western Macedonia. It is indicative of the mood of the 25th January election. A sense of humor detoxifies all situations. Let’s keep it this way…

 

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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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Illegal immigration: the Trojan Horse of Greek elections.

The immigration issue was on SyntagmaTrue to its craving for power at all costs PASOK – through the Ministers of Health and social security Mr. Loverdos and Citizens’protection Mr. Chrysohoidis – is using the illegal immigration issue to attract votes.

The creation of immigrants’ concentration camps was announced as a measure to curb criminality in the Athens historic center. While the issue is real and pressing the project was presented without any concrete planning, without any previous discussion with the communities that would be called upon to host the camps and without any preparation of Greek society. What has really happened is that this move has re-enforced the right wing propaganda that illegal immigration is to blame for the high unemployment rate and the rise of petty crimes in Greece.

Human rights organizations and left wing parties have submitted a number of proposals regarding the issue but have met with the government’s inability to fund the smallest project and its unwillingness to claim funds from the EU for the specific issue which is an all European one.

Mr. Chryssohoides, who publicly admitted that he signed the first Mnemonium without reading it is desperately seeking a way to ingratiate himself to his voters. Mr. Loverdos stands by him stating that illegal immigrants are a health hazard but making no proposals about how to face this hazard – how could he since he cannot deal with the health hazards of legal Greek citizens.

So, there is a whole speculation game played around the issue aiming at political gains and nothing more. The illegal immigration issue is used as a Trojan horse to create impressions without any real and tangible results.

 

Greece – uphill on the way to elections

Easter is over and the short pre-electoral period is well under way. Politics has been a major Greek sport for ages – literally. Soccer and tavli come second with caffe frappe taking third place. We Greeks often manage to combine all three in one and then it is a real feast.

This pre-electoral period finds Greek citizens more perplexed than usual. They all know (or at least claim that they do) that they don’t want to vote for either PASOK or New Democracy; they consider these two parties as jointly responsible for the present situation. On the other hand, with a 15% exception, that’s what’s been hapenning for a long time. After democracy we seem to have invented a new system: partitocracy. Well, not actually invented, but adopted and refined it to an art. Now, faced with more than 13 (unlucky number) parties to choose from we are at a loss. TV presenters have chat shows with more than 6 candidates: they manage to show them all by opening windows on our screens that seem to get smaller every day as the number of candidates increases.

The left wishes to govern and favours a multi party government. The possibilities are slim especially since the Communist party refuses to cooperate with any other party.

The far right has made its first steps in the political stage at last year’s local government elections and is now on the verge of acquiring the necessary 3% to enter the national Parliament.

PASOK and New Democracy are promising all the things they have not managed to accomplish since World War II.

The Greens are performing very well but their voice is not heard since the citizens are trapped in the dilemma:”Do you want a government or new elections?’ at the best and “If you don’t vote for one of the two big parties anarchy will reign” at the worst.

The present Government is playing dangerous games with the immigrants’issues and the rising criminality while unemployment is rampant.

Politicians of all colours find it difficult to hold rallies or approach the people – they are often verbally attacked and in some cases physically attacked with water bottles. So far the only injury has been to the politicians’pride but Greek society is steadily poisoned by this lack of values and seriousness.

The role of the mass media is becoming apparent even to the most naive. People avoid television like the plague. It is the social media for the youth and the coffee shops for the elderly that provide them with information.

Spring is in the air and even though money is tight the people cannot stay at home. The crisis is providing the opportunity to return to simpler and far more enjoyable forms of entertainment like card playing on the balconies, walks and chats in the street, souvlaki, beer and politics  at the neighbourhood souvlatzidiko.

Could this be the profit of the crisis? That we shall re-discover our humanity? The price is high if the present immigration trend continues. But at least we shall be getting something back.