ATHENS – After 38 years of taking turns plundering the Greek treasury, hiring every crony and illiterate who couldn’t read or write but knew how to put an “X” next to the names of the people putting them on public payrolls, the New Democracy Uber-Capitalists and PASOK Anti-Socialists who were repudiated in the stalemated May 6 elections that failed to yield a government are back in the saddle again.
After New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras scared the hell out of Greeks into believing that if his rival, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, won, that Greece would be forced out of the Eurozone, fear won over the day as during the June 17th elections voters gave the bank robbers of the right – and the left – another half-victory. It’s been New Democracy and PASOK since 1974, and looks like it will be until 2074 or until the Parthenon is sold.
Because SYRIZA finished a close second, Samaras didn’t have enough votes to form a government, despite the Greek law that favors the powerful and gives the first-place finisher 50 bonus seats in the Parliament. And because Greeks can’t vote for candidates, but only a party, Samaras and Venizelos get to hand-pick who they wanted, and that includes the sad spectacle of two discredited former Prime Ministers, Costas Karamanlis on the right, and George Papandreou on the left, being allowed to sit in Parliament like rookie back-benchers, collect a fat check they don’t need and take their orders from the people they used to boss around. It’s worth it though just to imagine Karamanlis saying, “Coffee, Mr. Samaras? Coming right up.”
In the end, despite two years of protests, strikes and riots; despite the first round elections that gave anti-austerity parties 68 percent of the vote; despite the June 17 elections that gave anti-austerity parties 58 percent of the vote, it will still be New Democracy and PASOK misdirecting Greece into oblivion and the dust bin of history, such a wonderful legacy for the country that gave the world democracy (which is no longer practiced in Greece) math, science, medicine, theater, the Olympics and much of what makes gives life meaning.
Because he didn’t have enough support, Samaras is teaming up again with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. They shared an uneasy hybrid government for six months before it took two rounds of elections to get essentially the same uneasy coalition but with the patsies of the Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis thrown in as symbolic Communists. Because Venizelos is smarter than than all the rest of Greece’s political leaders put together, he smelled the Tsipras Trap.
When the 37-year-old SYRIZA leader refused to take part in any coalition but said he would remain a strong voice of anti-austerity to put Samaras’ feet in the fire to remind him to keep to his word to renegotiate terms of the deals the New Democracy leader and Venizelos signed with international lenders in return for bailouts keeping the Greek economy alive, Venizelos gleaned Tsipras wanted to wait in the wings for a new coalition government to collapse. That would leave SYRIZA the only game in town.
POLITICS IS A GAME OF THIEVES
Venizelos insisted on adding an anti-austerity party, and since the Independent Greeks made up of former New Democracy outcasts also turned down Samaras, that left the Man Who Would Be King with nowhere to turn, except the Traitor of the Left (TOTL) Kouvelis, a founding member of the Communist Youth party, who opposed the bailout terms too but now supports them by proxy. He refused to join a New Democracy-PASOK coalition in May, which created the need for a second election, but now – under the convenient excuse that Greece needs him more than he needs his principles – he agreed to join them in a New Troika.
Greece is surviving on a first round of $152 billion in rescue loans from the real Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) and awaiting a second for $173 billion to prop up a bankrupt country whose economy was driven into the ground by decades of New Democracy and PASOK governments hiring hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes. So the same parties who created the mess are back in power to do what they want and Greeks who voted for them – except those who voted for Kouvelis but wound up voting for Samaras – can’t say “boo” because they put them there, regardless of the coming strikes, protests and riots that will develop once Samaras, who speaks with two forked tongues, reneges again on his promises to try to renegotiate some of the pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions the Troika demanded and which he signed.
Samaras had opposed austerity when Papandreou was in power, changed his mind to join a coalition with Venizelos for six months, changed his mind again during the campaign when he saw Tsipras rising and now that he’s been elected has changed his mind again and apparently forgot he said he wants new terms, and that he can’t really actually possibly probably do that because the Troika will yell at him and take away his lunchbox. Maybe we’re being too harsh here and maybe Mr. Bean Counter will find some scruples tucked away in his trust fund or discover that there are people who work for a living and aren’t jet-set aristocrats and that they need some help and that despite the hundreds of thousands of needless workers, there are real workers, real decent, hard-working innocent people who are being hurt and need help.
But don’t count on it because his Finance Minister was reported to be Vassilis Rapanos, head of the National Bank of Greece, which put out a fast report backing up Samaras’ scaremongering that Tsipras wanted to take Greece out of the Eurozone of the 17 countries using the euro and back to the drachma. Samaras prefers to talk to bankers because they speak the same language: currency. Because Tsipras refused to take part in a coalition, and Venizelos expects it will fall as well, unless Samaras can convince the Troika – they’re just bankers after all, so maybe he can – to re-do the deal that he signed and supported after he opposed it and refused to sign it. The new Prime Minister could find himself all alone and without any coalition. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, no matter how big it is…the head, that is.
See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Greekreporter.com. Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!