By Christos Kefalis, Athens
May 10, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- (See postscript below) The parliamentary elections of May 6 have produced a sensational result, opening a new chapter in the political history of Greece. It will have important repercussions on the European political situation as well.
The result shows a clear polarisation between left and right and a break-up of the hitherto ruling political forces, the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and New Democracy, the so-called “two party system” that has dominated Greek political life since 1974.
The two traditional parties, pillars of neoliberal policies, lost more than half of their previous vote. Combined they now have the support of just 32% of the electorate, compared to 77% in the 2009 elections. New Democracy dropped from 33% in 2009 to 19%, while PASOK has sunk even more dramatically, from 44% to 13%, losing more than 2 million votes.
This was punishment for their reactionary austerity “memorandum” policies, which they implemented in cooperation with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. These policies led to vast impoverishment for the majority of the people and mass unemployment officially already at 23%, resulting in a plethora of suicides by desperate men and women.
The vote for the broad left rose from a modest 12% in 2009 to an impressive 35.5% -- 17% for SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), 8.5% for the Communist Party (KKE), 1.2% for the anti-capitalist left party ANTARSYA, 6.1% for the moderate Democratic Left and 2.9% for the Greens. However, the prospect of a left government is doubtful since the KKE, an ultra-Stalinist party, ruled out beforehand any cooperation with “opportunists”, by which it means all other left parties except from itself. Moreover, the Democratic Left and the Greens are moderate centre-left parties that do not differ radically from PASOK. Even so, the collective result of the three radical left parties, SYRIZA, the KKE and ANTARSYA, was an impressive 26.5%.