Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Surprisingly, Almost Eerily, Calm Greek Election

by Aristides N. Hatzis

Wall Street Journal

September 16, 2015

On Sunday the Greek people are going to decide their future again. This is the country’s third election in less than eight months and the sixth in three years. For Greece, that isn’t unprecedented and certainly isn’t surprising. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis that saw per capita income fall by almost 28% between 2007 and 2015. That the despair and anger over this economic catastrophe will be decompressed through elections is a good thing.

It is remarkable that Greeks are heading to these elections calmly. The pre-election period hasn’t been too ugly or noisy, for several reasons. First, the radical left-wing Syriza party isn’t the opposition anymore, but the incumbent.

This has quieted what used to be a major source of electoral fireworks. Syriza has been torn apart after the administration’s capitulation to the eurozone leadership following a referendum that had instead mandated defiance, and Alexis Tsipras is now just another bailout-signing prime minister.

But the splinter party of dissenting former Syriza members is in danger of not reaching the 3% threshold required to be represented in the Parliament. It has failed miserably in its attempt to mobilize Syriza supporters, to exert a real pressure or to become a medium-size political player.


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