Where will political change come from in Greece? The far left and the far right?

I would not bet on it. One of the problems with Greek democracy is that it is a rather staid 2 party system, and this has undoubtedly fed into systematic corruption and a partisan civil service that lacks a wider public service ethos. However, the results of a recent  opinion poll (June 2011) suggest that Greeks still see the two main parties, PASOK and New Democracy are the main choice [see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/06/11/uk-greece-idUKTRE75A1P720110611%5D. About 31% of respondents of a poll by Public Issue for a Greek newspaper…..said they would back New Democracy…over 27% who said they would back PASOK. Mind you, its worth comparing that share of opinion sentiment with a share of the vote that each party received in the national elections of 2009:

Back then PASOK got about 44% of the vote and New Democracy got about 34%…so .clearly PASOK have lost heavy ground……whereas New Democracy  remain static. So where does that lost PASOK vote/support go?

The obvious party on the further/far left are the Coalition of the Radical Left, which everybody calls, Synaspismos [logo above left], a mixed bag of ex Communist lefties  and greenies, who got 13 seats in the parliament and merely 5% of the vote. I would expect that to double….but who knows…….

The party on the far right is the  Greek People’s Orthodox Rally [logo above right], which is a populist right-wing party of sorts. It got almost 6% of the vote and about 15 deputies elected. Again we could see its vote share doubling maybe in a future election.

And the point?

Well Greece may be headed towards a 2.5 party system where PASOK can only rule in combination with the far left…..and greens….or New Democracy may rule with the support of the far right.

Both parties of the far left and right are quite Eurosceptic, and they are even more so now for understandable reasons.

The latest wave of austerity being imposed on Greece is not domestically sustainable. Something has to give, and that political anger will have to find an outlet other than the street.

We may be seeing the beginning of a fundamental change in Greek party politics, and with it a fundamental re-orientation towards a more Euroscpetical and traditional nationalist Greek foreign policy, which has anyhow always been pretty nationalist. One can be sure that policy elites within PASOK and New Democracy are discussing, a return to the Drachma. If PASOK retreats to  amore nationalist vision, it may find government with Synaspismos both logical and attractive.  In any event while we can expect party growth on the margins of Greek politics…the two incumbents remain seemingly pivotal……what matters then is as much developments within PASOK and New Democracy…….


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