Why Early Elections Aren’t a Risk for Greece

Since 2010, when it was excluded from the markets, Greece has lost most of its sovereignty by surrendering unconditionally to its lenders the power of taking important decisions about its future. As a result, the Greek governments, including the current one, became accountable not to the people that they were voted in by, but to European and international lenders represented by the so called “Troika” mission in the country. Ministers and governmental members of the Hellenic Parliament have been restricted only in implementing Troika’s orders having no actual role in policy making for the country. Most of us would agree that in our interconnected world and, in particular, in a Union like the European one where all the member states share common responsibilities, countries giving up a part of their national sovereignty is rather expected and reasonable. But there is always a fine line between — on the one hand — making compromises as a Democracy with the interests and priorities which other member states may have in a common union, and — on the other hand — accepting that people who are not legitimated define the rights of the voters in a democratic system to make political choices considered by them as most appropriate for their own future and that of their children.

Now that Greece is becoming again the epicenter of the international interest for the markets and media, Greeks are experiencing the same unproductively intimidating rhetoric from the decision making centers from abroad. These centers are trying in some way to deter Greek voters from making choices that — according to them — may lead Greece into “a very damaging situation for its future.” In simple words this means that in the scenario of early elections in the country, the majority of Greece’s European partners don’t want to negotiate with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the radical left wing party, as Syriza is considered to be. The President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncke — who is viewed as politically accountable for the so called “sweetheart tax deals” in Luxembourg in the period he had been leading the country as its Prime Minister — expressed his desire for Greek voters to elect “known faces” into power. And this is not the only awkward statement made intentionally from a high level European executive like Mr. Juncker, with his perennial political experience. Along with him, the EU Commissioner Moscovici implied that Greece may face a Grexit if the current government is averted and replaced by another, probably consisting of “unknown faces.” “It would be a pity for Greece to face Grexit again after the considerable work that has been done” were the Commissioner’s words. At the same time current Greek coalition government executives seem not to be annoyed about this external awkward interventionism into internal politics but, on contrary, to legitimize the European lenders and markets in order to scare Greeks about he democratic choices they have in terms of early elections.

Some analysts predict that the current political instability in Greece is going to drag the country back into a new tragedy of uncertainty, economic meltdown and a Grexit potentially. Such an analysis just simplifies the complexity of the situation that the country is going through during the last four years. In contrast with what the current Greek Prime Minister Samaras claimed recently — that the crisis in Greece is ending — the reality for the majority of the society not connected with the corrupt political and economic elites is much more painful than what is described in the private meetings taking place in the decision making centers in Brussels, Berlin and Washington DC. In my country, Greece, half of young people are unemployed and many others — some of them with prestigious educational background — are struggling to obtain a job opportunity with at least a minimum monthly salary of only about 400 euros. Thousands of Greek young professionals are turning their backs on their country, taking the risk to become immigrants in order to pursue the same opportunities that other Europeans in their age group have in their homelands. Those who are well connected with the Greek political elites ensure prosperity for themselves and their families. In my country ordinary people have been affected much more than the rich. As a result the gap between privileged and non privileged members in the society is increasing more and more. The wealthy were left undisturbed by the government, to continue hiding their untaxed incomes by transferring them to tax heavens abroad. At the same time, public and private sector employees and pensioners are carrying the majority of the additional tax burden, exterminating the already weakened middle class.

Because of all above reasons, if I were asked whether early elections in Greece might be a risk for the country’s economic recovery, I would probably answer no. I believe that when a situation is no longer economically, politically and socially sustainable, there is no other way than for people to confront the harsh reality and make these political choices that will remind Europe that dealing with the current crisis can come only with democratic tools and not by the kind of intimidating blackmailing that Greeks experienced extensively in the 2012 elections.

Originally posted on huffingtonpost.com

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