Syriza’s Victory: When populism and opportunism meets European technocracy?

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 22.40.37And a stunning and pretty decisive result in Greece. It appears even to have taken Syriza by surprise, leaving them only one seat short of an outright majority.

Open Europe already have a good blog post outlining the possibilities: Independent Greeks (ANEL); or the centrists To Potami.

The problem with the first is that whilst they firmly agree on ‘ending austerity’, they depart radically on issues like immigration (Greece is one of the EU’s beleaguered front line states in that regard). And To Potami have the same misgivings every other former mainstream heretofore, ie, they don’t think the Syriza plan is actionable.

Gerry Adams does. Almost out of nowhere last week it was suddenly pushing Tsipras’s plans for a European Dept Conference on a reluctant Taoiseach, and was rewarded with a confident prediction from the Greek leader in waiting that Sinn Fein would sweep to victory in Ireland next year.

That, of course, may very well depend on just how successful Greece is in getting the Eurozone mountain to come to them. Heretofore the Germans in particular have made it known that it thinks the Eurozone could survive a Greek exit. And they are not the only ones of that opinion.

Indeed, it has been pointed out that debt forgiveness on the scale proposed by Tsipras’ ‘Thessaloniki programme’ would break the Eurozone, since it would signal to others that they could run up debt and default without penalty. A de facto fiscal union.

Yet Tsipras has a pretty strong democratic mandate, and one premised on staying within the Eurozone (which gets a rating of 76% in polls). Indeed, there is no legal (or at least safe) way that a country can be kicked out of the Eurozone, it’s just that without a meaningful compromise staying in might just become too painful to sustain.

As Open Europe notes…

Allowing Greece a compromise could well spur them on and signal a huge shift in the bloc’s approach to the crisis. Equally, refusing to compromise could undermine their proclamations of change. That said, it could also further fuel the popular backlash against EU-mandated austerity.

The implications will be felt across Europe. While a compromise could still be possible, it will be quite painful to reach and will imply someone taking big steps back from their previous stance.

In addition we are likely to witness first hand what happens when populism and opportunism meets slow footed European technocracy. The result may not be very pretty at all..

  • sean treacy

    Gerry Adams was not pushing Tsipras plans “from almost out of nowhere.SF and Syrizia have been allies in the european parliament for well over a decade and would have very similar views on most issues.

  • *Ahem*

    “Sunday’s election could be a significant day for Europe…”

    With added election results.

    And yet, “Yet Tsipras has a pretty strong democratic mandate”?
    36% of the vote.
    The fascist New Dawn are the third most popular party on around 7%.

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Cue several weeks of “Left wing Greek maniac and Gerry Adams are best buds” stories in the south

  • Robin Keogh

    I doubt the new greek government will start throwing shapes on merkels doorstep tomorrow morning but they will be challenging europe on what they see as illigitemate debt. And rightly so, the situation now where ireland and greece are landed with billions of banking debt outside the standard sovereign debt requirements is unsustainable. The problem of course is the political trilemma. Who is in charge? The markets? Sovereign governments or democracy itself. We cant have all tgree, we can only have two. Euripe has to find a way to tame the markets so they dont have the power to impoverish populations or hold democratically elected governments to ransom. Fixing this abomination will not be easy but it needs to be done if the European project is to have any real chance of surviving. Syriza has had close communications with left wing parties across europe, alone they may not have much success but with two or more countries hitched alongside, europe could be in real trouble if it refuses to play ball.

  • kalista63

    A thinly veiled shinner bash.

    Welcome to parochial Slugger.

  • Robin Keogh

    Lol, i know its hilarious. Even when SF are a thousand miles away from the action Slugger will always find a swipe angle 😉

  • “Almost out of nowhere last week [Sinn Féin] was suddenly pushing Tsipras’s plans for a European Dept Conference on a reluctant Taoiseach, and was rewarded with a confident prediction from the Greek leader in waiting that Sinn Fein would sweep to victory in Ireland next year.”

    He should have waited for the latest Red C poll…

    This poll shows support for Fine Gael is up three points to 24%. The Labour Party has also seen an increase in support, up three points to 9%.

    Fianna Fáil’s party support remains unchanged at 19%.

    Despite a fall of two points, Independents and smaller parties remain the most popular grouping on 28%.

    Meanwhile, at 20% Sinn Fein is down four points on the last tracking poll for the Sunday Business Post.

    No indication yet of how Gerry Adams’ personal rating has contributed to that fall.

  • Robin Keogh

    The combined polls over the last two months put the shinners in the very early twenties. Traditionally gov parties get a bounce after the xmas break. Having said that i would be concerned if SF fell below 17%. They need poll momentum to keep the pressure on the government. The figures across the board indicate it could be interesting when it comes time to form a gov. Non of the traditional combinations have the support needed for a comfy majority. Even a FF FG coalition would struggle on those figures.

  • “They need poll momentum to keep the pressure on the government.”

    And they just dropped 4 points…

  • Robin Keogh

    Yup but as i said their average over the last few polls put them in early twenties territory. Hopefully they will bounce back in the next poll. But 4 points is not good.

  • Momentum.

  • Robin Keogh


  • notimetoshine

    The only answer to deal with Greek debt and potentially their unwillingness or inability to pay will be fiscal union and closer political integration in Europe. I doubt this will happen, I don’t think the appetite exists in most quarters in Europe.

    Maybe the only hope will be to create some sort of process for a managed grexit.

  • Paddy Reilly

    We have got used to the idea that the Euro in our pockets is
    exactly the same as the Euro in Greece. The Ancients believed that Zeus was the same as Jupiter and Hera as Juno. So Syriza and Sinn Fein are both merely local variants of the Party of the European United Left.

  • Paddy Reilly

    You apparently do not know that the other, smaller parties, all have something in common with Syriza: there are now 15 Communist Party deputies, to the Left of Syriza, while to the Right Golden Dawn is Eurosceptic, Independent Greeks are anti-austerity, placing Syriza in a dominating central position. So yes, they have a mandate.

  • kensei


    It may be momentum later, but this is either ignorant or trolling. I know where my money is going.

  • Korhomme

    Greece’s economy has shrunk by about 20%, unemployment is 23%, youth unemployment is over 50%. Many put this down to the austerity required by the Troika. (Is it relevant that Frau Dr Merkel’s father was a Lutheran pastor?)

    In such circumstances, just how can Greece be expected or able to repay its debts?

  • chrisjones2

    Then it shouldn’t have incurred them and should reform its systems to eliminate the corruption that means so many avoid paying tax

    The people elected the bozos

  • chrisjones2

    How do you merge Germany with Greece and Italy? Financially that’s like inviting a drunk and a drug addict to move into your house based upon a promise that they will reform. German’s aren’t that stupid

  • Korhomme

    The only people who pay tax in Greece are those who are employed and charged under a sort of PAYE system. But even these people are subject to a “wealth” tax; if, for example, they own their home, it’s (rental) value will be incorporated into their total income, to give them an entirely fictive income based on its value. It’s quite possible to end up paying tax on earning several multiples of your actual earnings. It’s no wonder that tax evasion is so widespread. Why this hasn’t been fixed is unclear, unless it is to protect the “elite”. It is to this grout that your wrath should be addressed.

    Meanwhile, just how do you imagine that, in present circumstances, that debt can be repaid?

  • notimetoshine

    Well the whole euro project can only work in the long term with fiscal and political integration and a loss of sovereignty. Whether that is something people want is a different story, but it is a reality. As for merging those separate entities, it could be done, you simply end up with Greece being a poorer region like the north of England, and Germany being London. The crisis that hit Greece especially would not have happened if there had been fiscal and political union. Of course it would not be popular but it is the natural outcome of the euro project.

  • D99

    That they did. But we’ve got more than a few bozos of our own. So maybe it’s time we tried something new too.