Monday, January 19, 2015

The Greek Time Bomb

by Yannos Papantoniou

Project Syndicate

January 19, 2015

Much is at stake in Greece’s upcoming election. Indeed, the outcome could determine whether the country remains in the eurozone, with far-reaching implications for the rest of the monetary union.

Syriza, a radical left-wing party whose popularity has skyrocketed amid the country’s economic crisis, is the favorite to win, though it is unlikely to gain enough parliamentary seats to govern alone. Instead, it will probably lead a coalition government, though with which other parties remains unclear.

Fundamental to Syriza’s platform is its economic program, designed to counteract the impact of the excessively strict austerity that Greeks have endured for the last four and a half years, in exchange for bailouts from the “troika” of the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission. Pensions have been reduced by 40%, on average, while the middle class is suffering under the weight of crippling new property taxes.

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