2015 & more Greek turmoil looms

Posted on December 31, 2014


Europe is on tenterhooks as the new year dawns. All because of a vote in the Greek parliament on Monday that failed to elect centre-right presidential candidate, Stavros Dimos as president. Dimos was rejected on the third round of voting in the complicated Greek system.

This means that Greece now faces another general election at which, if the polls are to be believed, the leftwing Syriza party will score a majority. But even with the additional 50 parliamentary seats accorded to the leading party, Syriza is unlikely to have an overall majority. This means yet another coalition for the ailing Greek state and economy.

Syriza wants a moritorium on at least part of the country’s massive debt, having initially called for a wholesale repudiation of that debt. As it stands, Greek government ten-year bond yields now stand at close to 10%, well beyond the 7% at which debt is considered to be unsustainable.

In what looks like a preparation for coalition power, Syriza’s popular leader, Alexis Tsipras has already started backing down on some of the more radical demands made by his party. However, the mere fact that Syriza could become the major parliamentary player will not go down well with either the international lenders nor the local, and increasingly vociferous right wing in the form of the neo fascist Golden Dawn.

Worrying for any parliamentary party to the left is the fact that a recent poll revealed that more than half the Greek police force supported Golden Dawn. A similar situation may exist within the military, which, under the rule of “the colonels” who governed Greece for seven years until 1974.

Whatever happens, be it military coup, centre-left parliamentary compromise or even retreat from the Euro zone, the start of 2015 seems to indicate instability for the European Union. And such instability could create turmoil that will have much wider repercussions.

Posted in: Commentary