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					15/03/12                                       Greek politics: Steady as she goes, surprisingly The Economist




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     Greek politics                                                                                                     Be the first to comment               Print


     Steady as she goes, surprisingly                                                                                   E-mail                                Reprints & permissions

     Greece s election may see more continuity than convulsion
     Mar 17th 2012 | ATHENS | from the print edition                            Li e
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     A SHAKE-UP of Gre e ce ’s cosy two-party political syste m would hardly be a
     surprise , give n the e conom ic and social uphe aval cause d by the country’s worst
     re ce ssion in alm ost a ce ntury. Many vote rs are sick of the corruption and
     clie nte lism that has flourishe d unde r the Panhe lle nic Socialist Move m e nt
     (Pasok ) and the conse rvative Ne w De m ocracy party, which have alte rnate d in
     powe r for 30-odd ye ars. At Gre e ce ’s ge ne ral e le ction, lik e ly to be he ld on May
     6th, polls sugge st that m any vote rs will back sm all anti-re form partie s le d by
     ve te ran political hack s.

     Scare m onge rs claim that thre e le ft-wing partie s—unre constructe d com m unists
     (KKE), hardline radicals (Syriza) and spe ndthrift socialists (De m ocratic Le ft)—
     are fom e nting social unre st that could unde rm ine Gre e ce ’s ne w bail-out, worth
     up to 174 billion ($227 billion), and drive it out of the e uro. O the rs worry
     about far-right partie s lik e Golde n Dawn, which for the first tim e is lik e ly to be at
     the 3% thre shold to e nte r parliam e nt and Laos. Up to te n partie s m ight win
     se ats at the e le ction.                                                                                        Recent A ctivity

     But will the y count for m uch? The two big partie s still look strong. Ne w                                      Sign U
                                                                                                                                    Create an account or log in to see what your
                                                                                                                                    friends are doing.
     De m ocracy is far ahe ad in the polls. Pasok has be e n in fourth place in som e ,
     trailing De m ocratic Le ft and e ve n the com m unists. Ye t Evange los Ve nize los, the                                Now hiring
     finance m iniste r and sole candidate to be com e party le ade r, be lie ve s vote rs will                               257 people recommend this.
     flock back once he tak e s ove r. His first te st com e s on March 18th, whe n
                                                                                                                              Where the living is easier
     Pasok ’s “frie nds and supporte rs” are due to e ndorse him as le ade r by turning                                       535 people recommend this.
     up at a polling station and paying 2 for a ballot pape r (to cove r the cost of the
                                                                                                                              An impossible dream?
     e le ction, suppose dly). A turnout be low 100,000 would be “rathe r                                                     34 people recommend this.
     e m barrassing”, adm its one party official.
                                                                                                                              The horror
     R e ce ntly the two big partie s have succe ssfully                                                                      131 people recommend this.

     cohabite d unde r Lucas Papade m os, a form e r vice -                     In this section
     pre side nt of the Europe an C e ntral Bank who be cam e                   Ris ing above bedlam                     Facebook social plugin
     prim e m iniste r in a back -room de al last Nove m be r.
                                                                                Fic o enters the jungle
     Last we e k Mr Papade m os’s gove rnm e nt ove rsaw a                                                            Most commented              Most recommended
                                                                                Y ou c an’t keep him down
      100 billion write -off of sove re ign de bt (se e article ),
     giving Gre e ce som e bre athing-space to ge t on with the                 » Steady as s he goes ,               1 . I s rael, I ran and A meric a: M as ters of their
                                                                                s urpris ingly                            fate?
     ove rhaul of its e conom y.
                                                                                                                      2 . A fghanis tan: T he horror
                                                                                E nemies of the s tate
     Ne w De m ocracy is unlik e ly to win a m ajority. Although                                                      3 . Banyan: T he Buddha and the tigres s
                                                                                A lighter s hade of grey
     Antonis Sam aras, its le ade r, is not tainte d by the                                                           4 . G ermany and G reec e: Wolfgang's woes
                                                                                E lec ted, but how
     party’s inglorious past (he took ove r afte r it lost powe r                                                     5 . T he Republic an rac e: T riumph of the
                                                                                democ ratic ?                             c arpetbagger
     in 2009) his back ing for the ne w bail-out, se e n by
     m any as a U-turn, has k nock e d four to five pe rce ntage                Reprints                              6 . P oland and L ithuania: Bad blood

     points off its le ad.                                                                                            7 . I s rael and I ran: For s uc h a time as this
                                                                                                                      8 . T he Republic an primaries : M is c egenation and
     Som e politicians from Europe ’s cre ditor nations worry that e le ctions will distract                              the South
     Gre e ce from its tight re form tim e table . Ye t de spite the rise of sm all partie s, the                     9 . I nnovation in C hina: From brawn to brain
     outcom e is unlik e ly to m ak e a fundam e ntal diffe re nce . Many obse rve rs be lie ve                   1 0 . T he N ational P eople's C ongres s : What makes
     that Ne w De m ocracy, booste d by an e x tra 50 se ats which a ne w e le ction law                                a rubber s tamp?
                                                                                                                      Over the past five days
     hands the party that finishe s first, will form a ne w coalition with Pasok . Such a
     pairing would e njoy a strong m ajority. Se ve ral se nior cabine t m iniste rs m ay
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www.economist.com/node/21550332                                                                                                                                                        1/2
15/03/12                                         Greek politics: Steady as she goes, surprisingly The Economist
     k e e p the ir jobs. Mr Papade m os m ight e ve n be pe rsuade d to stay, pe rhaps as
     Mr Sam aras’s de puty. That would re assure Europe ans that Gre e ce will k e e p
     plodding on.

     from the print edition | Europe



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