Greece: Local Elections to Become IMF Plebiscite?
On 7th November Greece goes to the polls under the infamous Kallikratis plan which creates 13 federated regions for the whole country, with one region Attiki (Athens basin) having 50% of the overall population of the country. The Kallikratis plan creates Super-Mayors with powers reminiscent of governors of ancient Rome. In essence they herald the break-up of central government as they aim to merge thousands of local councils and give Presidential powers to each Mayor in each of the 13 regions. Under this background Papandreou announced last night (25th October) if he doesn’t win a single region he will resign and go towards new national elections.
Having attacked on behalf of the IMF-EU creditors vast swathes of the population, pensioners, farmers, small shopowners, workers, unemployed whilst not having imprisoned or even attempted to prosecute a single higher ranking government official or MP involved in bribery scandals for public contracts with foreign multinationals (Siemens being one of them). Already according to media reports one in ten are in food kitchens organised around the churches and the constant increases in VAT rates (food to go from 11% to 13% under EU pressure) are constantly eroding the buying power of those in work. Youth of working age from 18-25% who aren’t in education or training are more than 80% unemployed supported by families or relatives. The attacks on millions of pensioners with the lowering of pensions has the effect of undermining the social safety net which operates in place of the government. Papandreou realising an electoral wipeout is on the cards and that he might become the one use Primeminister, attempted to bribe the electorate offering E100 to each pensioner after having cut hundreds already. In addition to this in order to confuse the electorate we have 2 or 3 PASOK prospective candidates in each region with the majority of them declaring they are independent from PASOK without actually having broken from PASOK or even having a single vote in their past which went against the government. Allmost all are calling these elections therefore a plebiscite on the IMF.
IMF-Will not avoid social explosion
With daily strikes and struggles all isolated and separate from each other (school students, national railways, part-time museum workers, newsagents etc) the Left is going from one crisis to the next. Remembering the poor districts of Athens which happen to be in the centre, a leader of the Eurostalinists (who have now split into three factions) Alavanos attempted to speak to an angry public and got yoghurt on his face. The same happened a week before to the KKE’s candidate. As for the PASOK and New Democracy candidate they dare not even show their face. Crime, prostitution, unemployment and ghettoisation with the constant arrival (100,000 in the first six months of 2010) of destitute illegal immigrants has led to conflict in the central Athenian districts which are starting to resemble ‘war zones’. Add to it the daily rise in unemployment there are no jobs, houses, even food so many sleep in abandoned buildings or in town squares. Under the guise of Greece being unable to control its borders the EU is to send an army (NATO) to Evros (region bordering with Turkey) thus complementing the twin role of the IMF-EU occupation. A NATO presence on Greek soil will obviously have one aim and one aim only, to be used against the Greek population in a period of economic and political instability.
So the issues that arise in the current period is that the Left continues to disintegrate and with its influence where one would have assumed they would have proven to be a beacon to the population, it continues its policy of supporting separatist struggles without campaigning for them to unite. It might assume that standing candidates in these sham elections (as all economic and political decisions are now taken jointly by the IMF-EU) and that an increase in their votes, due to the fall of the two main parties may allow them a breathing space, cannot be seen on the ground, as no significant IMF imposed measure has been defeated. Without a single defeat of any IMF-EU measure, the issue that will dominate after the public plebiscite of the IMF in the forthcoming elections, will be whether new elections can forestall the coming social explosion or the expulsion of the IMF occurs as a consequence of these new elections...
Wed 27, October 2010 @ 21:54
What are these?
discussion of this article
VN Gelis said…
There is discussion that if during the first round of local elections this Sunday the ruling party PASOK doesn't achieve a reasonable result they will cancel the 2nd round and go for national elections thus forcing the population to vote for govt thus artificially increasing their capability. A condition for this may be the deaparture of the PM either after the elections or before.
The suddent appearance of alleged anarchist terrorists once more as in May (though never have any been seen or shown in any media outlet) may serve the purpose of creating more police presence on the streets by creating a climate of fear as bankruptcy is hanging like the sword of Damocles on the Greek electorate if they dont vote as ...advised.
Thu 04, November 2010 @ 22:55
VN Gelis said…
The abstention rate seems to be massive with over half or around just under half voting depending on the 13 Prefecture districts under which these elections are being held. 10% of those that did vote voted white/blank vote (allowed in all Greek elections). So far 5 of the 13 areas are with New Democracy (Right) which implies Papandreou may go for national elections so as to avoid going to a 2nd round of local elections (under the Kallikratis changes) and not gain any large Prefecture.
This abstentions rate is similar to so far to the Euro-election abstention rate.
The KKE has increased its electoral showing so far on a smaller voter turnout but if they dont come 2nd in any Prefecture they dont get through to the 2nd round if it is held.
The Syn/Syriza (ex-Euros) who have had 3 representatives in the Athens area have sufferred big defeats.
So far there is a big anti-IMF swing taking into account Greeks generally vote so abstention here appears to be taking the form of an anti-IMF plebiscite and the two main parties have lost significantly from the lack of voter turnout and the swing away from them is big.
So until the elections are finally over (Monday morning) and the main parties make their positions felt we have to wait and see if Papandreou departs as all the media is stating that he does not want to be known as the Prime-Minister who bankrupted Greece (as discussion is occurring constantly about a 'controlled bankruptcy' of Greece) and all the entails:
i) controlled bankruptcy leading to a possible departure from the Euro,
ii) expulsion of the IMF,
iii) possible coalition governments
not of course in that order or all of them at the same time but these are being discussed widely...as possible future scenarios.
Sun 07, November 2010 @ 19:47
VN Gelis said…
A 40-50% abstention rate added with 10% blanc/spoiled vote means that both of the two main parties have lost around 50% of their own electoral base. This has been translated by the FT in an article as a vote for the IMF austerity measures, ie the banksters interest paying bondholdins.
The Right hasn't increased its vote so much as to gain from the electoral fallout of PASOK. If they therefore go for a 2nd round and not for national elections, the Right may gain and PASOK may lose more than 50% of the 13 Prefectures, with a possible increase in abstention as the Left wont vote for the two main parties candidates in any shape or form.
Sun 07, November 2010 @ 21:37
VN Gelis said…
Papandreou announces he wont go for national elections in the end.
PASOK won 8 out of 13 Prefectures now they have to try to keep them
when they go for the 2nd round. In areas where they gained more than
50% of the votes there will be no 2nd round, which so far are 3.
Near enough final results
Abstention, blanc and spoiled ballots 45,47%
NEW DEMOCRACY: 18,37%
Abstention rate in 2006 last local elections was 37%
The KKE has increased its votes to 14% in the Athens basin
and will get in total around 200,000 votes.
So on the basis of the figures presented
1 in 10 of the official electorate (from which thousands have been added
fraudulently in the last years on the electoral rolls) voted for PASOK.
This is the lowest share of the vote for any party in power since 1975 and it
is only two months since the IMF measures have hit the pay packets of workers and pensioners.
Will the Left campaign now for abstention from the elections
where they cant stand candidates or will they indirectly call for a vote for
the Right to defeat PASOK over the next week? Or will they call for a vote for PASOK to not bring back the Right (section of the Euros may go for this)
Mon 08, November 2010 @ 09:04
VN Gelis said…
On the same day reports are posted about the 'low turnout' in the Burmese elections:
the extremely low turnout in the Greek elections isn't necessarily headline news.
One wonders why? The day after the next round of elections the IMF arrives again for a new batch of measures. The message being, you voted, you shall pay.
Mon 08, November 2010 @ 17:44
VN Gelis said…
For those who missed it today or didn't catch it an interesting piece on Greece in todays Guardian
Some of the comments are also worth reading and they are many....
Tue 09, November 2010 @ 22:36
VN Gelis said…
Athens Region Final Results
Voted: 200.282 / 42,99 %
Valid: 184.241 / 91,99 %
Spoiled: 9.841 / 4,91 %
Blanc: 6.200 / 3,10 %
Abstention, Spoiled, Blanc: 60,5%
Just below 4 out of 10 voted in these local elections.
The KKE has called for abstention in the next round.
Wed 10, November 2010 @ 00:03
VN Gelis said…
Abstention as expected reached around 68% in the Athens basin for the Mayors position. Add to it the blanc/spoiled ballots and another 12% didn't vote.
PASOK achieved a majority with 11.5% of the voting electorate winning 8 out 13 Prefectures.
This they stated is popular recognition that more IMF measures are required as today they arrive once more in Athens. More will follow once all the results are analysed
Mon 15, November 2010 @ 10:06