In Eurozone, International

If the May 21 election in Greece proves anything, it’s that Greek democracy is dead, and the European Union killed it.

The incumbent and neoliberal New Democracy Party won the May 21 election with a commanding 40.8% of the vote. Although this was over twice the percentage won (20.1%) by the second-place Syriza, New Democracy’s vote share was insufficient to secure a majority. As a result, Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, a Harvard-educated banker, called a snap election in which a 20-seat bonus will be up for grabs. That election will be held on June 25, 2023.

Parties that failed in the May 21 election to meet the 3% threshold for entry into Greece’s Parliament will not be eligible to participate.

One of those parties was MeRA25, the party led by Greece’s former Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis. In 2015, Varoufakis resigned from his position as Finance Minister when then-Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Syriza ignored the results of a referendum on austerity and, at the insistence of Greece’s ‘troika’ of creditors (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF), imposed a crushing austerity regime on Greece.

On the whole, the May 21 election, which drew a very low turnout by historical standards, was a massive disappointment for Greece’s once-vibrant left.

As Varoufakis explained following his May 21 defeat:

A population that has been brutalised by thirteen years of crisis, whose median per capita real incomes are 40% lower than in 2007, and whose democracy was crushed in 2015 (when their brave referendum vote was ignored) are now too numb to care about abstract rights. And it is not just the rights of refugees, of ‘others’, that they have become numb towards – it is their own rights too, as witnessed by the apathy toward the exposure of a Prime Minister who has been caught red-handed eavesdropping on political opponents, even on members of his cabinet!

On June 1, I spoke with documentary film-maker Regis Tremblay about the election results and the disintegration of Greek democracy. Among other things, I expressed the view that Syriza now confronts an existential crisis: the only way for it to regain its credibility with Greek voters (if that is even possible at this stage) is for Alexis Tsipras to resign, and for the entire leadership of Syriza to be replaced by persons who are committed unflinchingly to a left-wing agenda.




Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

Translate »
The first casualty of war is critical thinkingDecline of the West Skip to content