von Konstantinos Koulocheris, 14.8.15
Week #2, Thursday, 13th of August, 2015, Athens, 33°C, Mostly Clear and a Bit Windy.
“Greeks think left, dream like Americans, blame Germany’s involvement to the imposed austerity in the country, but still 500.000 of them voted – and some of them will most likely do so again – for a far-right neo-nazi political party in the Greek Parliament, which fiercely manifests the Nazi era as occurred in Germany, back in 1930’s until the end of the WW2”.
The above bizarre psychogram came out of Petros Markaris’ mouth in 2012. It was an effort to express a blurry scene in Greek public opinion concerning the then election rally. While this mix up remains as intense in present times, it is clear that everyone here is prepared for another election in the coming months as the majority of MPs once owned by the SYRIZA led coalition government now lay their allegiances elsewhere. The question emerging now is what people will vote for this time?
An early election in the coming months will signify that the first left wing government in Greece since the re-establishment of democracy in Greece has practically failed in fulfilling its initial promises for political stability – just like previous right-to-centre-wing governments did the past four years.
At the time of writing, Greek MPs postponed their summer holidays to gather in the Parliament to cast a vote on another series of financial measures up to no less than 25 billion euros. The purpose of the vote, which lasted for more than 12 hours, is to ensure that the greek economy will stay on track towards the commitments of the government to its creditors. The legislation plan includes reforms in the banking system regarding the so-called ‘red mortgages’, health system and taxation have already provoked unrest with labour unions’ of manifestations taking already place in the centre of Athens.
As part of the Memorandum, Greek National Health Minister, Panagiotis Kouroumplis announced that creditors demanded a five euro entry fee for the Greek hospitals. In this fashion, consultations between the tripartite committee and the Greek Government in Athen have turned into the hottest talk in the Media agenda.
The agreement on technical aspects of the financial policies with the Troikans in Athens were widely celebrated in the national stock market as it appears to be a step closer to re-establishing the lost trust. Obviously, a significant amount of the Government’s MPs — 44 at the moment — have stated their anger towards this ‘act of treason’ and a threat to the government’s parliamentary majority.
The agenda — if the election comes — , comes in contrast to the previous electoral clash; another memorandum is a fact and immigration policies applied — if any — have failed.
The coverage by the majority of the national Media stressed the issue of immigration as another humanitarian disaster taking place in the border-lines across the Aegean Sea area and in some parts of the mainland. The front pages on the newsstands provided an intense coverage as in the past days. Having thousands of refugees remain concentrated in small islands, while hundreds of thousands are expected to join them within the coming months.
Only in a few cases was there reference to the inexistent facilities and state mechanisms for the management of the war refugees as local authorities struggle to provide accommodation and food to asylum seekers.
Overwhelmingly, the prospect of having refugees packed in the centre of Athens and other cities in the mainland is dreadful even for the hardcore voters of SYRIZA on the top of an emerging austerity packed era. This, inevitably, leaves a precious electorate gap for far-right nationalist parties — such as the Golden Dawn — to re-establish themselves in the greek political sphere. And this is where things get serious.
The overall narrative this week feels like having a banker, a worker and a refugee seating over a table with 20 candies, whereas the banker takes 19 of them, before warning the worker that the refugee is ready to steal his single remaining candy…