Tuesday, May 8, 2012

More on the Greek Elections

From Walter Held in  Germany

A textbook result in a deep crisis: the centre is squeezed and the extreme wings grow. The conservative ND on 18,88% gets 108 seats with 1.183.411 votes  whereas the left coalition Syriza  on  16,76% only gets 52 seats with 1.050.782 votes. The reason is that the biggest party (or coalition) gets a bonus 50 seats.  It was designed to ensure one of the parties had a majority. If Syriza had got a couple of percentage points more, it would have received the 50 seat bonus. The other 250 seats are shared out according to what percentage the parties poll.

So the relative strength must be seen in the number of votes. It seems the proper left got 1,500,000 votes - Syriza, KKE, while the centre right with PASOK and democratic left got around 2,400,000. So the old parties are not dead yet.

Having failed to form a workable government majority, the ND has given up. Now it's the Syriza's turn as the second largest party. They have three days to try. If they fail - which is probably inevitable - new elections will be called. If the ND plus PASOK who together have an almost numerical majority have failed, no other grouping can come near to succeeding.

The major obstacle to change, the PASOK, is now effectively crushed for a whole period and will be the lapdog of the ND. In terms of formal democracy, the left have had a cracking result, but are paralysed by the sectarian communist KKE and by the numbers in parliament.  As in the Weimar Republic, minority cabinets with no parliamentary majority will fail to pass the new laws, will demand extra powers to rule by decree. One commentator on the radio this morning foresees "a circus of madmen" in the new parliament. Outside, the paralysis will continue with breakdowns in all public services and industrial production and commerce.

If the unions then hold an unlimited general strike and the left declares itself the new provisional government which would enforce its programme, a revolution could be achieved. It would need proper preparation, convincing the rank and file that this time their strike would make a difference instead of letting off steam. The Syriza would need to declare their aim that the workers should take power. How could the KKE oppose that?  This scenario will have a chance in a few months' time or less when the parliamentary fiasco has played out, with new elections not being able to solve the unsolvable crisis.

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