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First thoughts on the Greek election


At the Jacobin magazine website, Panagiotis Sotiris, a member of the left-wing Greek party Popular Unity, reflects on the reelection of Syriza in Greece earlier this week. Sotiris suggests that Alexis Tsipras and Syriza won reelection by taking the cynical route—insisting that there was no alternative to submitting to the Troika’s conditions for receiving more loan money. Here’s an excerpt:

This was not a good election night. I am not talking mainly about the fact that Popular Unity failed to pass the 3 percent threshold necessary to gain parliamentary representation, but rather that the election results seem like a vindication of Syriza’s capitulation to the European Union and the signing of the new memorandum. The new loan agreement will mean devastating cuts and neoliberal reforms, and we now have a parliament dominated by pro-memoranda forces to see it all through.

This is in sharp contrast to the July referendum, when millions massively rejected troika-imposed austerity and the social devastation that came with it.

Tsipras’s cynical gamble was that he could turn the election into a debate on what party (and prime minister) will implement the memorandum that had already been approved by Syriza and the systemic parties on August 14. His strategy was to present the memorandum as something inescapable and inevitable. He avoided much mention of the agreement, presenting the only possible choices as being between him and Vangelis Meimarakis, the leader of the center-right New Democracy party.

Image: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the leader of ANEL, Syriza’s coalition partner, celebrate their return to power on Sunday. Via Jacobin.