This Sunday Greeks will vote in their second national election, which comes after the failure to form a government following the election on May 6. The results of the election are critical for the country’s future in the euro zone and the European Union. Moreover, the election will have significant implications for the rest of the world.
One thing is certain – the Greek future does not look bright. Whatever the outcome of the election, Greece will not be in a position to get over the crisis fast.
On Sunday, 7 political parties and coalitions will compete for 300 seats in the Greek Parliament. Two of them, the New Democracy and SYRIZA, are the dominant parties that won the first two places in the last elections. The New Democracy is a center-right party which won 18.85% of the vote in the last election, while SYRIZA, a radical left-wing coalition, won 16.78%.
Those two parties are not likely to form a coalition together, which means that they will have to negotiate with the other parties that enter the parliament. Those parties will probably be the Panhellenic Social Movement, the Communist Party of Greece, and the Democratic Left, (all characterized as center-left to left-wing parties) and Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn which are anti-austerity, right-wing parties.
The deputy editor of Kathimerini English Edition, Nick Malkoutzis, told the Guardian that there are two options for the Greeks. One of them is to “tough it out in the euro and wait for the economy to recover.” The second is to, “risk it all on a potentially disastrous return to the drachma.”
Even though the Greek law forbids the release of the opinion polls within two weeks before an actual election, a rumor was released yesterday that New Democracy, which supports the euro, is leading. This rumor lead to a 10% jump today the Greek stock market; it is seen as a sign that the future government in Greece will be in favor of staying on track with the original bailout agreement, and staying in the euro zone. This only shows how deeply interconnected the investments in today’s world are, and how desperate stock investors are to find out any information on Greece and its role in the euro zone.
As for potential Greek exit from the euro zone is concerned, it is important to mention that even SYRIZA, a coalition of the radical left, did not publically ask to leave the euro zone. They advocated for more favorable terms on a bailout deal. Though, and have threatened to leave the euro if they don’t get it. However, the threat might never come true; recent polls show that most Greeks that voted for SYRIZA do not believe that the party will take the country out of the euro zone. As one local said to the Economist, “I am irrational. I have kept my money in Greece. That’s because I am still optimistic that common sense will prevail.”
Whether common sense prevails in Athens on Sunday or not, the election will definitely have an impact on the rest of the world. The vote of the Greek people may be decisive not only to the county’s membership in the euro zone, but to the euro’s future as a currency, the European economy as a whole, and further development of the austerity measures throughout Europe. Not to mention the future of the European Union.