The day after the elections

The day after the elections

Whatever the outcome of the Greek general elections in May, the next day will be difficult – primarily for the economy and despite the current euphoria. As the governor of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, said in a television interview on April 10, “the next government will face a more difficult macroeconomic environment than the previous one.”

Unfortunately for the Greek public debate, the political point of view is defined by and limited to two Sundays: May 21 and another in July, when the second round of voting is expected to be held. There is no Monday, no consideration for what happens next. However, the wheels of history continue to turn, so slowly that it goes unnoticed.

We are not only referring to the turbulent international economic situation, which for an over-indebted country like Greece can hide unpleasant surprises, like the one experienced by the Germans in the interwar period. There was a short period (1924-1930) in the Weimar Republic when American loans relieved the unbearable terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The German economy recovered, prosperity began to return and the Nazi party won just 2.6% in the 1928 election. But then came the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and American lenders demanded their loans back. They didn’t want to punish the Germans, but they needed the money to plug other holes, while the German economy at that time was at its most vulnerable and thus faced the most risk. In September 1930, the Nazi party increased its percentage sevenfold, garnering 18.3%, and by 1932 it was the first party, with 37.4% of the vote.

We are never going back to a system dominated by two parties that cumulatively secured 80% of the vote

There is something else that we will inevitably encounter in the future: Coalition governments. We are never going going back to a system dominated by two parties that cumulatively secured 80% of the vote. All around the world, the unifying concepts of the past are crumbling, the great doctrines are losing their force and societies are becoming more elastic.

There are many reasons for that: some problems are becoming more complex and the media landscape is changing. As associate professor of sociology of Communication at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Vassilis Vamvakas, pointed out recently in comments to Kathimerini: “We used to say that the media builds consensus; now we can say that social media produces and multiplies polarization.”

This political, social and cultural fragmentation is inevitably reflected in the ballot box. Therefore, even if for some reason the next election should provide a majority government, coalition governments should be a topic of discussion, especially in Greece, where there are no political memories or culture of post-election cooperation between parties. The mud-slinging and jibes that are heard by various politicians are doing nothing to help in this transition, because at some point political parties will have to work together.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.