Quick look at the Greek election results

Electoral map of Greece: Red=SYRIZA Blue=ND

The Greek election results have come in and it seems far-left party SYRIZA has won a significant victory on an anti-austerity platform.

The results of the snap elections are almost complete.

Results with 86% of vote counted:

SYRIZA: 36% 149MPs
New Democracy:27% 76MPs
Golden Dawn:6.3% 17MPs
Potami:6% 17MPs
KKE(Communist Party of Greece):5.4% 15MPs
Independent Greeks:4.7% 13MPs
PASOK:4.7% 13MPs

Abstention:36.5%

Source

Seven parties appear to have won enough votes to get MPs into the 300 seat parliament with SYRIZA out in front as the clear winner. We need to await the full results to see whether SYRIZA has managed to win an absolute majority or if another coalition government is needed. Should a coalition be necessary, any government at some point in the future has to get 180MPs to elect a new president, the most likely candidate seems to be the nationalist right Independent Greeks. Despite nine of their current MPs being in jail, fascist Golden Dawn have managed to retain their third place.

The first thing to note about the election result is that Greece now has its fifth different PM in a little over five years. In that time governments have been from the centre-left, centre-right, technocratic unity, right-wing led coalition and now a government of the left. A number of parties have risen and then disappeared. It seems former coalition partners DIMAR(Democratic Left) will not enter parliament just as far-right LAOS lost out in 2012. Though these elections were billed as the most critical in the state's recent history it is notable that the abstention rate is around 36%. Just as many people didn't vote as voted for SYRIZA. Should SYRIZA fail to gain a majority it will be the second consecutive government to do so. These elections then are another sign of the polarization and fragmentation of parliamentary politics in Greece.

Many people are labelling SYRIZA's win as historic. In the context of the history of the Greek state they are correct. For whatever happens next SYRIZA has broken the rule of the two previously dominant parties New Democracy(centre-right) and PASOK(centre-left). These two parties shared power between them for forty years. They took over when the military Junta fell in 1974 and have ruled since. This period, known as the metapolitifsi(change of regime), has perhaps now come to an end. It must be noted that many of the key and founding figures of New Democracy and PASOK were active politicians before the Junta took power in 1967. As such they represented a continuation of the post-civil war politics of the 1950s and 60s. Their downfall is rightly being celebrated.

It can also be said that SYRIZA is further to the left than any previous Greek government. In a state which has a long history of repression aimed against the left and radical movements this is not without significance. In the election campaign a number of government figures alluded to the civil war between the left and the right of the 1940s in order to try and play on these historical divisions. Whilst the Centre Union and PASOK election victories in 1965 and 1981 were hailed as the victory of the left neither started out from SYRIZA's position.

The results are also significant for Europe. Aside from the obvious clash over debt and austerity that is to come, it is of significance that a long standing two party system appears to have broken. For perhaps one of the only times in Western European politics the political centre has crumbled. This may have implications for upcoming elections in Europe, notably Spain, where the political centre is weakening. Clearly these results are a huge vote against austerity and neoliberalism. Samaras, the leader of ND, was much loved by Europe's rulers with his coalition being seen as the best party to represent the interests of the EU and the IMF in Greece. They have now been resoundingly beaten. If nothing else the results are a clear indication of anti-austerity feeling.

None of this means that we should get carried away with this election, it is after all just another election. Outside of left intellectual circles, SYRIZA generates relatively little enthusiasm and patience with them may be short lived. Clearly SYRIZA's programme is to fix the Greek state and better manage the crisis. It is a role they have played well since their rise to prominence after the 2012 elections. Having become the main opposition during a time of increasing radical action they did their best to divert energy from the streets back into parliamentary politics. Their strategy of waiting and playing games in parliament meant two and a half years of standing around and waiting for a government to fall. After all that, much of the enthusiasm for SYRIZA which the media is reporting is overstated. More than catching people's imagination, SYRIZA has won because it is at least a different group of people.

The danger is of course that a left government will attempt to recuperate the revolt on the streets and give a humanitarian covering to further austerity. This danger aside, the anarchist movement could benefit from the changed situation. A more sympathetic government may have implications for the newly created high security Type C prisons and the immigrant detention camps. The movement of occupations and squats which suffered a number of losses under the previous government may be able to get some ground back. The possibility of police reform may also change things on the ground. So perhaps a government of the left may provide a bit of breathing room for the movement.

SYRIZA's honeymoon is likely to be short. Within the next few weeks a Greek government needs to carry on negotiations with the EU and IMF over the continuation, or not, of the bailout programme. Already they have toned down their radical rhetoric and aim instead to make a new deal with the EU. There is still a good chance that a major clash with the EU and IMF is on the way. SYRIZA's ability to manage the crisis and store up the Greek state will be quickly tested.

Comments

Gregory A. Butler
Jan 26 2015 07:49

Good summary - and a nice explainer for us Americans, who are totally unfamiliar with parliamentary governments, since we don't have that here.

Steven.
Jan 26 2015 10:07

Yeah, good article, thanks for writing it so quickly!

Steven.
Jan 26 2015 11:36

Update: confirmed they're going to be in coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks

Mark.
Jan 26 2015 16:18

Thanks for this Thrasybulus.

As this looks like the best place for discussing the new government here's a link for the Today programme interviewing Yanis Varoufakis about Syriza's economic policies and the negotiations with the EU.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02hp632

Mark.
Jan 26 2015 16:53

The Irate Greek blog on the coalition with the Independent Greeks

https://theirategreek.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/strange-bedfellows/

Steven.
Jan 26 2015 18:46

Notes on the racist lunatics Syriza have got into bed with from Andrew Flood: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/andrewnflood/notes-racist-independent-greeks-syriza-coalition

Mark.
Jan 27 2015 19:30

Tsipras announces the new cabinet. Yanis Varoufakis is finance minister as predicted. ANEL (Independent Greeks) get defence minister.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jan/27/greek-elections-syriza-alexis-tsipras-cabinet-eurozone-live

Full list of cabinet members.

http://www.amna.gr/english/articleview.php?id=8287

Varoufakis intends to carry on with his economics blog.

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/01/27/finance-ministry-slows-blogging-down-but-ends-it-not/

An assessment of the problems ahead from Syriza central committee member Stathis Kouvelakis.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/01/syriza-greece-victory-kouvelakis-left/

Paul Mason again.

http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/syrizas-greece-chile-allende/3139

The business press view - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11370960/Greek-coalition-braces-for-debt-showdown-as-Germany-rattles-sabre.html

Kathimerini on the deal with ANEL and plans for new legislation.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_26/01/2015_546550

Quote:

Sources at Independent Greeks told Kathimerini that the agreement between Tsipras and Kammenos was relatively straightforward. The right-wing party has agreed to back SYRIZA’s economic policies, as set out by Tsipras at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September, as long as the new prime minister does not forge ahead with changes in areas where Kammenos’s party has objections. This includes foreign policy issues, such as reaching an agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on a composite name, which Kammenos disagrees with. SYRIZA has also agreed to put on hold any plans for a separation between the Church and state.

Kammenos gave the green light for SYRIZA to bring to Parliament as soon as possible the legislation it has prepared with the aim of implementing the pledges made in Thessaloniki. The first bill is expected to raise the minimum wage back to 751 euros and reintroduce regulations regarding collective wage bargaining.

The second draft law will focus on measures for taxpayers to be given better terms to repay overdue taxes and social security contributions. The bill foresees the new payment plans leading to no more than between 20 and 30 percent of taxpayers’ annual income going toward repaying their debts.

The new government also wants to pass legislation that will end the mobility scheme and evaluation process in the civil service. This will lead to some people who have lost their jobs as a result of these measures being rehired.

Other measures expected in the coming weeks are legislation that would allow some 300,000 households living under the poverty threshold to receive free electricity. Tsipras is also due to push for the reopening of public broadcaster ERT, which was shut down in June 2013.

SYRIZA and Independent Greeks have further agreed to form an investigative committee in Parliament to look into the circumstances that led to Greece being forced to sign its first troika bailout in 2010, including how the country’s debt spiraled.

Mark.
Jan 27 2015 19:23

The 'best people to follow on Twitter', according to the Teacher Dude blog.

http://teacherdudebbq.blogspot.gr/2014/12/best-people-to-follow-on-twitter-in-run.html

Mark.
Jan 30 2015 13:17

Stathis Kouvelakis replying to Richard Seymour on the Syriza ANEL link.

http://www.leninology.co.uk/2015/01/stathis-kouvelakis-replies-on-syriza.html

Thrasybulus
Jan 30 2015 19:27

On Saturday Golden Dawn will hold thier annual march in Athens to commerate the Imia crisis (a near-fight between Greece and Turkey over some rocks). Normally they are the only ones who mark the event, today Syriza's new ally Kammenos became the first minister to visit Imia to hold his own commeration.

http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=672162

Mark.
Jan 30 2015 20:36

Kammenos visiting Imia

Steven.
Feb 1 2015 21:15

it would be cool if you (or someone) could post that to the news section

Mark.
Feb 2 2015 14:00
Steven. wrote:
it would be cool if you (or someone) could post that to the news section

As I'm stuck with using a mini ipad for the time being I was hoping someone else would post this up.

S. Artesian
Feb 2 2015 17:39
S. Artesian
Feb 3 2015 00:48

Even more FWIW: http://thewolfatthedoor.blogspot.com/2015/02/for-everything-else.html

I think the events in Greece will be as important to the class struggle in the first half of this century, and the events in Chile were to the last half of last century.

Mark.
Feb 11 2015 16:45

An article on the Syriza victory from TPTG

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27883

Mark.
Feb 13 2015 20:48

'Uprising' at Amygdaleza immigrant detention camp

https://mobile.twitter.com/asteris/status/566309621477150720

Spikymike
Feb 18 2015 16:44

See also: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/left-actually-want-save-capitalism-18022015
with links to Guardian article by Yanis Varoufakis and Greek EU negotiation docs plus side comment on Monbiot idiocy!

Mark.
Feb 18 2015 18:30

Paul Mason interview for Greek TV on the state of play in the EU negotiations

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2hg78m_

And on Democracy Now

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/2/18/rejecting_austerity_greece_squares_off_with

Varoufakis press conference, Monday night

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9_8gKX5w8ko

Mark.
Feb 20 2015 22:52
S. Artesian
Feb 20 2015 23:10
Mark.
Feb 22 2015 20:56
Ed
Feb 22 2015 21:27

Last line of that article is kind of chilling:

Quote:
Somewhere the leaders of the last Greek party that promises "change", the neo-fascist Golden Dawn, are grinning.
S. Artesian
Feb 22 2015 23:30

Chilling indeed. This is Syriza's function, to set the workers up for the next blow.

Nach Tsirpas, Uns

the right is chanting.

Mark.
Feb 24 2015 21:00

Letter from Costas Lapavitsas

https://greekanalyst.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/the-scathing-letter-of-syriza-mp-and-economist-costas-lapavitsas/

Varoufakis's letter to the Eurogroup

http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2015/02/24/varoufakis-letter-greeces-reforms-list-to-eurogroup/

The Eurogroup has apparently approved the proposals.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote:
Just met a leading Greek minister. Chuckling about EMU deal. "Went really well". (I take no view: reporting on their cognitive universe)

https://mobile.twitter.com/AmbroseEP/status/570238346682888192

Paul Mason on today's deal

http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/greece-eurogroup-syriza-varoufakis-grexit/3439

Stathis Kouvelakis on today's deal

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/02/syriza-greece-eurogroup-kouvelakis/

Interview with Stathis Kouvelakis

http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/1878-stathis-kouvelakis-going-on-this-way-can-only-mean-defeat

Mark.
Feb 25 2015 15:29
Spikymike
Feb 25 2015 16:41

On Police reform: Yannis Panousis might recruit other left academics to their cause (perhaps Mr Drury!). As an ex-professional worker myself (though no academic) I might have to subject myself to some self-criticism but this opening critique titled 'Profession and Movement' seems so relevant again even if the conclusions seem doubtful:
www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/96/e_w96_berufubewegung.html

Mark.
Feb 25 2015 17:10

^See also the TPTG article I linked to above.

Quote:
With the academicization and professionalization of Marxist theory in the last decades things have become even worse. In public political meetings, conferences, reading groups, summercamps, demos etc. one constantly comes upon hundreds of leftist PhD students, researchers, journalists etc. Most of the times one finds herself wondering whether it is a genuine interest in anti-capitalist politics that brought them there or if this involvement is just a necessary step towards a profession guaranteed by the capitalist state, a capitalist enterprise or a reformist party.