The outcome of the 17-hour long meeting of Eurozone leaders last Sunday was a huge blow for the Greek government. Amidst rumors that the Greek PM Tsipras was blackmailed to agree with any measure put in the table, both by the United States and Eurozone leaders, and despite the outstanding support of Greek PM in Twitter using the hashtag #ThisIsACoup, the Greek government finally capitulated to creditors’ demands.
In today’s voting in the Greek government, PM Tsipras is called to face a growing and possibly lethal rupture in Syriza not only by the Left Platform, but also from independent MPs of his party that cannot accept such fiscal measures after almost five years of fierce anti-austerity rhetoric. The Syriza party grew in the years of austerity and now is faced with a complete dissolution. Especially after the overwhelming outcome of the Greek referendum couple of weeks ago and the 61% of Greeks that voted against the Junker Plan, Syriza seems to have lost the only asset that has been left: a wide and solid social support. In other words, PM Tsipras is the only leader in the modern Greek political history that achieved in six months to increase the electoral power of his party from 36% in January to 61% in July, but now risks to break this social appeal at once. Astonishing.
All major efforts these months have gone in vain after Sunday’s preliminary agreement for a massive 86 billion euros bailout. Here is what the Greek Parliament is called to legislate today (click here to enlarge):
The Euro Summit has forced the Greek government to legislate these fiscal measures so that official discussions on the bailout package could start between the institutions. Inevitably this set of measures has broken unity in Syriza with many MPs being ready to vote against or abstain. But the problem gets bigger for the political stability in the country.
PM Tsipras and his government are going to have the support of (possibly) the most MPs of its coalition party, the Independent Greeks, but certainly the majority of the MPs from New Democracy PASOK and The River. Therefore, fiscal measures will pass through the Parliament but Syriza will no longer exist as we know it. Even if PM Tsipras resigns his MPs and Ministers that are going to object this bailout, the rupture inside Syriza is permanent. Between MPs, between members of the party, between the people that voted for Syriza that are now deeply confused and disappointed.
With regards to political stability in Greece, the growing revolt in Syriza is generating an unstable political ecosystem in the Parliament, as PM Tsipras will be obliged to cooperate with pro-austerity opposition parties, probably forming a type of coalition government. Should the measures pass, it is highly likely that opposition parties will either demand to be part of the government or force PM Tsipras to call for elections. In both scenarios, it is certain that the political establishment in Greece as we know it since the 1970s will collapse, with none of the parties being able to form a majority government. This will push towards broader coalition governments, that per se is a good option, although without answering or dealing with the immense political impasse of the country: what will be the reaction of the Greek society and how intra-political struggles and goals will be controlled and managed for the sake of political stability?
Another scenario, with or without snap elections, is the partition of Syriza and the creation of another party formed by ex-Syriza MPs, that will certainly play its role standing against austerity and in favor of return to national currency. Furthermore, there is also a great possibility that Golden Dawn, the extreme right party to gain support, only if it softens its rhetoric against migration and make it more populist, encompassing this crucial part of floating voters that is now disappointed and furious.
Fact remains that Greece was never called to take such decisions that define its future as member-state of EU and Eurozone, as sensitive arm of NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean, as a nation that has to stop building its capacity in the sand or the illusive safety nets of the European establishment.
It is early to broaden our analysis on that, as we have to wait what will happen today in the Greek Parliament. No matter what, Syriza lost a unique chance.
To contact the author Dimitris Rapidis:
Twitter: @rapidisDimitris Rapidis