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It emerged today that Greece will hold snap elections less than 4 weeks from now. An official announcement will be made tomorrow. Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal have confirmation from an unnamed government official that the poll will take place on May the 6th.
The radical left, meanwhile, have surged forward in the polls. According to recent opinion polls, three parties to the left of PASOK (the main social democratic party) will get 30-40% of the vote between them. The Coalition of The Radical left – a kind of Greek version of the Socialist Alliance – are on 10-12%, while the newly formed Democratic Left have been gaining up to 16% of the prospective vote. Meanwhile the Communist Party having been polling significantly above the 7.5% they gained in the last election.
In many ways this is no great surprise. PASOK united with the Conservatives to back the bailiff regime of Papademos – an EU imposed technocrat whose only real objective has been to force through austerity at any cost. Last week a pensioner sent shockwaves through Greece when he shot himself outside the parliament. His suicide note called on Greece’s youinger generation to rise up and hang the treacherous political class “as the Italians hanged Mussolini.”
With Greece electing its deputies through a PR system, the next parliament could well be exciting and indeed very radical. And we may see a head on clash between Greece’s political institutions and the EU, hich so far has proved determined – above all else – to make sure that Greek interest payments keep flowing into the coffers of French and German banks.
And without a doubt, this is part of a general European phenomenon. Jean Luc Melenchon is taking the political establishment by surprise in France. In Ireland Sinn Fein nearly trebbled their representation, while the Socialist Party gained their first seats. With living standards being squeezed across the continent for the beneift of bondholders, and after decade in which mainstream Social Democratic parties have very much embraced Neo-Liberal economics, people are finally, and understandably looking elsewhere.
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