Cultural Revolutions

Beware the "Grexit"

Early elections were held in Greece on May 6, but the results have left the birthplace of democracy without a government.  The leading liberal New Democracy party got just 19 percent of the vote and 108 seats in the 300-member Greek parliament.  Their main opponents for the last 40 years, the socialist PASOK party, finished third with 13 percent and 41 seats.  This means that the two parties cannot even form a “grand coalition” government without the support of some third party.  The big winner of the elections was the neocommunist SYRIZA party, which finished second with 17 percent and 52 seats.  Other parties in the parliament include the populist Independent Greeks (33 seats), the old-communist KKE (26 seats), the social-democratic Democratic Left (19 seats) and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (21 seats).

How did the Greek elections end up in such a mess?

Since 1981, PASOK has been dominating the Greek political scene.  Under the leadership of the flamboyant demagogue Andreas Papandreou and his political descendants (including his son George) it governed alone for 22 out of the last 31 years.  New Democracy governed for the other nine years, but did little to reverse any of PASOK’s socialist policies.  Despite membership in the European Community, the socialists expanded the public sector, and that meant tripling the public debt from...

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