Friday, June 15, 2012

Sour Mood of Greeks Makes Vote a Cliffhanger

Wall Street Journal
June 15, 2012

On Sunday, Greece's future in the euro zone will be in the hands of voters like Kety Bakirtzoglu: longtime backers of the entrenched political establishment who feel burned and are ready to roll the dice on something new.

For years, Ms. Bakirtzoglu was a stalwart socialist voter from the Pasok party's core, Greece's giant public sector. Then, as part of a bid to meet austerity goals mandated by its bailout, the socialist government pushed her out of her job at a state housing agency.

Furious, she has found a new horse to ride: Syriza, the upstart party on the radical left that promises to tear up the Greek bailout deal's painful reforms. Syriza and its firebrand leader, Alexis Tsipras, surged from nowhere to second place in May's inconclusive voting, striking fear in European capitals of a cataclysmic standoff that could fracture the euro zone.

The fear could become reality if Syriza lures enough disaffected voters like Ms. Bakirtzoglu to form a government. The election is too close to call, a race between Syriza and New Democracy, a conservative pro-Europe party that barely edged out Syriza in May.


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