Tuesday 19 June 2012

Reaction to the 2nd Greek election

The fact that the pro-austerity New Democracy party crept into first place in the re-run of the 2012 Greek legislative elections has been greeted with unmitigated joy from the Euro fear mongerers that did so much to frighten the Greek electorate into voting against their own interests.

Shortly after the first inconclusive Greek election in May 2012 the Euro fear mongerers initiated their campaign of lobbying in favour of the pro-austerity parties. German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned the Greek President Karolos Papoulias in order to advise him to run the election as an unofficial referendum on Greece's membership of the Euro, in order to frighten the electorate into voting pro-austerity.  British Prime Minister David Cameron waded into the discussion, putting the threats in much more explicit terms with his statement that "we now have to send a very clear message to people in Greece: there is a choice – you can either vote to stay in the euro, with all the commitments you've made, or if you vote another way you're effectively voting to leave."

The unelected technocrats also joined in with the policy of Euro fear mongering in the lead up to the second Greek vote. Christine Lagarde of the IMF chose to sanctimoniously lecture the Greek people, claiming that she had no sympathy for the suffering Greek civilian population, insisting that it is "payback time" for Greece and making it clear that the IMF would never consider softening the terms of the country's austerity conditions. All in all a very clear message to Greek voters that they must vote for austerity or the IMF will pull the plug. 

The Belgian Finance Minister Steven Vanackere continued the fear mongering by stating that contingency planning for a Greek exit from the Eurozone was taking place. The mainstream western press got in on the fear mongering act with CNN even going as far as to claim that Greece could not only be thrown out of the Eurozone, but the European Union too, dependent on the election results. On the eve of the election the German tabloid Bild addressed a threatening letter to the Greek electorate, demanding that they vote for the pro-austerity parties or face "complete disaster".

Even after this co-ordinated campaign of fear mongering, significantly more Greeks voted for anti-austerity parties than for the pro-austerity establishment, making it quite astonishing to see how the mainstream press have been joyfully misleading the public with their coverage of the results. Instead of focusing on the extremely significant fact that the majority of Greek voters actually cast their votes for anti-austerity parties, the UK press has been gleefully describing the results as a victory for the pro-austerity minority, simply because New Democracy managed to sneak into first place with only 29% of the vote, meaning that they could claim the 50 bonus seats handed out to the single biggest party. Thanks to the bonus 50 seats the political establishment parties ND and PASOK (the people that led Greece into the crisis in the first place) can potentially form a coalition government to continue the policies of defunct neoliberal pseudo-economics dressed up as "austerity" and vast bailouts that flow straight back out of Greece to pay out on what should have been losing financial sector bets made by the reckless European financial sector.

Considering only 42% of Greek voters were intimidated into voting for the pro-austerity parties, whilst 55% of the Greek electorate voted for explicity anti-austerity parties, the undisguised glee of the pro-austerity Euro-bullys is particularly hard to stomach.

Angela Merkel telephoned ND leader Antonis Samaras to congratulate him on his victory, saying that she was confident Athens would "abide by its bailout pledges". Barack Obama's press secretary Jay Carney congratulated Greece and said that "we believe that it is in all our interests for Greece to remain in the euro area while respecting its commitment to reform". Italy's unelected puppet Prime Minister, Mario Monti, said he was delighted with the Greek vote, "which is also a great sign for Europe". The right-wing austerity fetishist Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was also delighted that New Democracy had come in first, which he described as "good news for Greece, very good news for the European Union, for the euro and also for Spain".

As unpleasant as it is to see the pro-austerity forces gleefully celebrating this result and the mainstream media spinning it as if the Greek electorate had handed the pro-austerity forces a resounding victory, in the long run a continuation of the neoliberalisation of the Greek economy against the wishes of the majority of the electorate may actually do more to damage the credibility of the austerity fetishists than a win for the anti-austerity parties.

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