Having just come back from Athens, I’ve been following the election results in Greece as they come in today. Its taken me a while to get my head around the different parties and where they stand on the political spectrum, but the main ones from left to right are:
- KKE (Greek Communist Party – kindof like the CPB here)
- Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left – politically kind of like the SSP here, erm, in its heyday)
- Democratic Left (kind of between the Labour Party and the SSP )
- PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement – kind of like the Labour Party here)
- New Democracy (kindof like the Tories here)
- Independent Greeks (kind of like UKIP meets the BNP )
- Golden Dawn (kind of like the National Front here)
Party 2009 result 2012 result
KKE 21 26
Syr 13 52
DL 0 19
Pas 150 41
ND 91 108
IG 0 33
GD 0 21
The first two can be considered radical left (KKE and Syr), the first four (KKE, Syr, DL & Pas) can be considered left, while the bottom three (ND, IG, GD) can be considered right, the bottom two (IG and GD) far right and GD fascist.
Orientation 2009 result 2012 result
Far Left 34 78
Left 184 138
Right 91 162
Far Right 0 54
Fascist 0 21
Two of the parties with seats are completely new – the Democratic Left and the Independent Greeks. One other – the fascist Golden Dawn had no representation. This is a major shift for newly emerging political orientations, including one very worrying one. The radical left has gained considerably from the demise of the moderate left, but it is the rise of the right which is scary.
There is no one party which is even close to forming a majority government – some form of coalition is required. Only PASOK and New Democracy were committed to continuing the austerity programme, all of the other elected parties opposed it. They have between then 149 seats – just shy of a majority. Even if the KKE were to go into coalition, something which they steadfastly refuse to do, the left would still be on just 138 seats – again short of a majority. Only a coalition of Pasok, New Democracy and the Independent Greeks or New Democracy, the Independent Greeks and the Golden Dawn could form a majority. Should New Democracy consider teaming up with the fascists, we could see fascists form part of an elected government within Europe, the alternative appears to be the equivalent of the Labour party going into coalition with what is the equivalent of the BNP. One barrier to this may be the Independent Greeks opposition to continuing the austerity programme, favoured by both Pasok and New Democracy – which would then effect a rightward influence on any alternative which was proposed. The best outcome is a coalition of New Democracy, Pasok and Democratic Left, which would see the left forces of the coalition in a significant minority, forced to go along with the demands of the right, becoming effectively like the LibDems are here, giving legitimacy to a programme on which they were elected to oppose.
On the Glasgow Mayday, I was talking to someone telling them about Athens. “Is it a country on the brink of a revolution?” he asked. “No, I replied, “Its a country on the brink of fascism” – afterwards I thought I might have been melodramatic. Seeing the results tonight, I don’t think I am being when I worry considerably that Greece may go bad. The level of anti-immigrant sentiment that I experienced, coupled with outright anti-semitism and almost conspiratorial nonsense coming a clearly educated and affluent man speaks of a country losing both tolerance and sanity. The detention camps for immigrants that Greece is setting up should strike fear into the heart of anyone who wonders why the concentration camps of Nazi Germany went unchallenged for so long. The military style policing which appears to be taken for granted – where chemical weapons are used against young people brandishing bottles and stones, with what seems to be an open acknowledgement that the police are agents of the state and a method of repressing the people rather than ensuring their safety and security.
These are scary times for Greece and for Europe. I have never experienced a stronger resistance movement than in Greece, nor have I ever experienced a country with a greater need for it.