Kostis Fafoutis KOSTIS FAFOUTIS

Coalition partners falling into their own trap

COMMENT

The first cracks in the glue holding the two governing parties together are starting to show, although they’ve been there all along. Independent Greeks voted against civil unions and granting citizenship to those born in Greece to migrant parents. This hindered SYRIZA’s ability to sell its progressiveness on two bills that were passed due to the positive stance of the “cursed” opposition and despite the no votes of its own coalition partner.

Previously, the demagogic anti-European, anti-memorandum rhetoric, anti-establishment mentality, populist rhetoric and desire to stay in power were sufficient for an otherwise unviable SYRIZA-Independent Greeks cooperation. But this cycle of aggressive populism, judicial dilemmas and frequent pseudo-logic has reached and surpassed its limits. The only thing that’s left is the anguish over clinging on to power and the advantages of that power.

This is the biggest problem the leaders of both governing parties have to deal with now. For years they’ve been caged in obsessive rhetoric about the past, the creation of enemies and witch hunts. Now they’re realizing they are slowly but steadily sinking into their own trap that was created for their detractors.

The recent interventions of the prime minister’s office in matters that have nothing to do with the reforms stipulated in the memorandum, such as who gets to hold the flag at school parades or the questioning of Greece’s Christian Orthodox identity, have struck sensitive nerves within Independent Greeks. In reality they reveal the retrograde “radicalism” that characterizes SYRIZA, as the structural reforms it has promoted have simply been aimed at taking Greece back to where it was in the 1980s.

The more Alexis Tsipras and the rest of the SYRIZA leadership try to color a future, post-memorandum Greece with their own ideology, the more they will find themselves running into the “red lines” of their right-wing coalition partners. Voices that have arisen from inside SYRIZA that say the coalition has run its course are part of an effort to win back Greeks who had never voted for the left before.

The reality for SYRIZA is that it only has itself to blame for burning bridges with any political groupings with whom it could find ideological agreements. As a result, it is obliged to drink the potion of its collaboration with Independent Greeks to the end.

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