Nothing dull about the results

Nothing dull about the results

The predictions were dull indeed: New Democracy would confirm its political dominance, without any real opposition, SYRIZA would maintain its lead over PASOK, and social discontent would be mirrored in abstention. 

At the end of the day, though, the actual results of the European Parliament election in Greece were much more interesting.

Abstention was not just high, it was explosive and unprecedented by Greek standards, pointing to a steep rise in social discontent, especially among progressives, given the gains of the right and far-right.

The government’s waning appeal after five years in power was much greater than expected, a sign that, among others, the conservatives have lost their ability to analyze politics.

ND’s illusion of omnipotence, its greatest asset as a guarantor of stability, was also shattered.

SYRIZA’s failure to leap ahead and socialist PASOK’s to replace the leftist party as the main opposition demand some serious work to reshape the center-left, even though the poor showing of both makes it harder to challenge their leaders, who insist they can go it alone.

New Left’s resounding defeat confirms the failure of the left’s defunct attitudes and positions to claim a moral advantage that does not hold up to reality.

The worse-than-expected performance of Kosmos (Petros Kokkalis) and the Democrats (Andreas Loverdos), meanwhile, shows that non-radical forces of an opaque middle ground cannot find an audience even at a time of intense inequalities and environmental catastrophes.

The new flowers of the evil far-right have benefited from a surge in ultraconservative sentiment, aligning with the broader European dynamic and confirming the danger of nationalist populism being further stoked by disillusionment with the democratic state of law and promises of normalcy, and the departure from the political process of rational citizens.

The prime minister holds the reshuffle card as the means of showing that he got the message, while ND’s right-wing faction bears its fangs.

SYRIZA’s Stefanos Kasselakis, meanwhile, holds the card of creating a made-to-measure party, where the power will lie in the hands of its members rather than party instruments.

In the meantime, the wonderful Greek summer lies ahead – and most Greeks can’t afford to enjoy it.

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