Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Greeks say NO to their own government

The Greek prime minsiter's decisionto hold both a vote of confidence in parliament and a national referendum on lastest austerity measures has taken the world's money markets by storm.

Even within Giorgos Papndreou's own PASOK party the decision has been met with mixed reactions. Whilst cabinet ministers have said they fully support the PM in this, backbenchers are rebelling with some saying they will vote against their own party if a referndum goes ahead, even calling for a government of "national salvation".

Opposition parties have been thrown into confusion by the referendum as well, The main opposition party, New Democracy has come out against it and is calling for elections. many smaller parties on the left are also against it, believing it a PR tactic to divert the public's attention from more important issues.

On the other hand the Greek public have thrown up their hands as far as the current political system is concerned. The nationwide protests and disruption of last Friday's national day parades made that clear to politicians who were booed and in some cases physically attacked by disgruntled voters.

The fact that polls show ever decreasing support for the two main political parties (figures for smaller parties have remained more or less static) shows that whatever the countries leaders may announce they are not in the position to say they speak for anything other than a small minority of the electorate. In such a situation the massive cuts in wages and public services and the prospect of a decades worth of painful austerity continue to have very little public support. Quite the opposite, Greeks across the political spectrum feel betrayed by their leaders and are in mood to go along with more of their follies.

The next crunch point will probably be Friday's vote of confidence which is likely to see the fall of Papandreou's as rebel PASOK MPs vote against their own party. The problem still remains who or what will take their place as no other party has a popular mandate to take over the reins of power and how do politicians campaign for re-election when voters would just as soon lynch them as give them their support?

On the other hand the annual 17th November anniversay of the fall of the Regime of the Colonels is just round the corner and this year a generation of Greeks raised on stories of heroic opposition to a hated regime will once again take to the streets across the country.

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