GREECE’S AUSTERITY ELECTION
Across most of Europe and North America, the two-party system of alternating centre-left and centre-right governments has so far largely managed to absorb the political fall-out from the 2008 financial crisis. Despite high unemployment, savage public-spending cuts and stagnant economies, the process of ousting the incumbents—as in Britain, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France—or rallying to support a lesser against a greater evil, has operated as a sufficient safety valve for citizens’ discontents, even though the policies of the mainstream parties are now almost indistinguishable. To date it is only in Greece, where the economic disaster has been most far-reaching, that the two-party system has collapsed altogether, leading to new mass-political alignments. Here, the centre-left pasok and centre-right New Democracy had dominated the political scene since the ‘regime change’ to representative democracy—the Metapolitefsi—following the 1967–74 military dictatorship. But in the elections of 6 May 2012, after two years in which both pasok and nd had committed themselves to the austerity measures of the eu–ecb–imf Memoranda of Agreement, no party managed to score more than 19 per cent of the vote. In this fragmented landscape, attempts to piece together a working majority fell short. A further election was therefore called, six weeks later.
Subscribe for just £45 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3
- Stathis Kouvelakis: The Greek Cauldron Why has Greece proved to be the weakest link in the Eurozone? Stathis Kouvelakis examines the contours of the post-dictatorship model, and the popular mobilizations that have arisen within its ruins.
- Neil Davidson: A Scottish Watershed Analysis of Scotland’s independence referendum and the hollowing of Labour’s electoral hegemony north of the border, after its lead role in the Unionist establishment’s Project Fear. What tectonic shifts have brought the UK’s archaic, multinational-monarchical state to the fore, as focus for an unprecedented mass politicization?
- Susan Watkins: The Political State of the Union Debt, deflation and stagnation have now become the familiar economic stigmata of the EU. But what of its political distortions? A survey of the three principal—and steadily worsening—imbalances in the outcome of European integration: the oligarchic cast of its governors, the lop-sided rise of Germany, and the declining autonomy of the Union as a whole in the North Atlantic universe.
- Stathis Kouvelakis: Syriza’s Rise and Fall Why did the Tsipras government sign up to a third Memorandum, within days of the massive popular rejection of austerity in the July 2015 referendum? Stathis Kouvelakis tracks Syriza’s repositioning since 2012 and its self-imprisonment inside the single-currency regime.