The weak Greek political system

The dead-end that the government and the Greek political system as a whole have reached is now apparent to naked eye…

The weak Greek political system |

The dead-end that the government and the Greek political system as a whole have reached is now apparent to naked eye.

Since the European elections, obviously under pressure from the results, everyone has entered a period of incessant politicking.

Mr. Samaras developed a combined narrative of financial progress and political stability, which ended with the election of a new President and thus the extension of his mandate until 2016.

Following close behind was the winner of the European elections, Mr. Tsipras, whose party’s main goal was to force early elections and overthrow the austerity by using the non-election of a new President as the means.

That is more or less how since the summer the talk about the Presidential elections has overshadowed everything, with the political and economic stability being the first victims.

The government was almost immobilized, having overestimated the potential of the so-called political negotiation and having underestimated the meaning of the technical and economic negotiation. Mr. Samaras assumed that the fiscal progress would be taking into consideration accordingly and that the markets would open their door to Greece as soon as it rid itself of the bailout and the troika.

Signs indicating the contrary though were evident since last fall. With the program essentially frozen, the interest rates of the Greek bonds started the rise and the doubt in the international gradually returned by the end of October, when the Minister of Finances Gikas Hardouvelis informed Mrs. Lagarde of the Greek government’s desire for the IMF to end its supervision of the economy. The markets reacted violently.

This cold shower was harsh and the lack of trust was immense.

Nevertheless, the technical and financial negotiation did not carry on and here we are, in the dying moments and all fronts are still open.

The program will not end, the funding is not secured, the loan installments are also up in the air and the markets are lurking, waiting for a potential Greek exposure without European cover.

At the moment, our creditors and partners treat the government as inconsistent, but the opposition too failed in its first contact with the international financial system.

In other words, where Greece was hoping to get out of the vice grip, it found itself bound again, arm and leg.

And that is because the political leadership remains deeply introverted and trapped by the small games of Greek fellowship.

At this point there are no easy solutions.

This Gordian knot will not be solved without blood, pain and tears.

The government will either give in and be tested in Parliament, or other events will take place.

Even elections will not provide a solution. The new government, whichever that may be, will have to start from scratch.

Truth be told, the Greek political system is turning out to be weak and in dire need of a reconstitution and reconstruction. Otherwise national defeats await us…

Antonis Karakousis

Originally published in the Sunday print edition

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