Sunday, September 27, 2009

Greek Elections at First Glance

While a more educated post about the elections will soon follow, I am compelled to share my immediate reactions to the whole scenario after watching the debates and reading about the parties' respective positions.

New Democracy... will lose since status quo is naturally challenged at a time when the economy has hit rock-bottom. Add to that that their years in power were marred with corruption scandals and two major devastating fires that ravaged the country, and the outcome is an easy bet. That said, there is some truth to PM's Karamanlis point that the opposing candidate's many election-era promises amount to bubbles that will burst as soon as the election outcomes are announced. This not out of malice or contempt, but simply a reality that impactful change and improvements cannot be delivered overnight and without feeling the pinch in the short-term.

PASOK... currently promising the world, when all it really needs to promise is improvements. The challenge is that the party had relative dominance in the Parliament since the last elections yet rarely flexed its muscle for little more than to point out the opposing party's problems when it could have rallied to actual move the needle towards all the great progress it's now promising to the Greek populous.

Syriza... is blessed with a young, charismatic leader and the fact that it is not either of the two main parties that people believe are now largely interchangeable. Yet I have a real issue with a party leader who says that the country's youth would be justified in taking the streets (not clear whether he means in rioting or in finding entrepreneurial opportunities in black-market activities) since the country's leadership is not clearing the way for them to find jobs. It is true that employing and empowering the country's largely well-educated youth should be a priority, but those same young Greeks of able mind and body should be encouraged to take some accountability themselves... if not for anything else, to be unlike the status quo and prove that they are fully-capable of an impactful revolution of the mind rather than the fist.

is just a conundrum to me. While some of this party's tenants are easily supported by a majority of Greeks, such as the resistance to Turkey's ascension to the EU and the position against acknowledging FYROM as "Macedonia," certain positions of isolationism taken by party leadership counter the respect that a party who claims to bridge the differences that others exploit is trying to gain. For a country that makes up a key part of Europe's southeastern border, isolation is not a realistic solution to real problem, including the human trafficking that brings illegal immigrants to Greek shores.

Eco-Greens... are a needed voice that was previously weak in Greek politics, particularly in the aftermath of natural disasters that have comprimised one of the country's most important economic resource - the natural elements. While some of their political positions are just as unrealistic as isolationism, I'm interested in seeing how the Greek nation will respond to the environmental trend, particularly as other international leader, including U.S. President Obama, seem to think green is the new economic frontier.

Despite what might be an obvious frustration with the available options, I will spend the rest of the week digging in to the variables important in these elections. Please share your thoughts about the upcoming Greek elections either via comments or the poll.


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