Dying days

Yet more tough bargaining is under way between the Greek government and troika officials. Notwithstanding the whole drama, talks are expected to end as they always end: in compromise. This practically means a collapse, or at least partial collapse, of the line of defenses built by successive Greek administrations as they have time and again given in to pressure from the nation’s foreign lenders.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his deputy, Evangelos Venizelos, on Wednesday ruled out any horizontal measures. Other than an array of structural measures that successive Greek administrations have signed up to but not implemented, troika inspectors have not yet made clear how the fiscal gap will be covered. True to form, the political class is making sure that the local financial elite remains unscathed.

Despite the cacophony of the past few weeks regarding the economic indicators, the size of the budget surplus, the broadening of the tax base and the growing confrontation between the rural and urban populations, the problem paradoxically is not economic in the narrow sense, but political.

The political system is failing to deliver. The pro-Europe center-left parties, PASOK and Democratic Left, have seen a significant drop in their electoral influence. It is now questionable whether they will manage to garner the 4.5 percent they need to enter the European Parliament. Their main argument against the leftist SYRIZA opposition so far has been its lack of clarity on the fate of Greece’s eurozone membership.

During his visit to Texas, SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras affirmed the party’s commitment to the single currency. Sure, differences on the details remain, but these are of little importance in politics.

Meanwhile, Greece is split on the right. The attack on Golden Dawn and its branding as a criminal organization has not really paid off. The recent killing of two Golden Dawn members by terrorists has eased the fallout following the murder of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a member of the neo-Nazi party.

At least the collapse of the union movement offers some comfort. Only the Communist Party (KKE) still manages to bring together a decent crowd at the occasional protest rally.

Disappointment is widespread and is directed against deputies who are trying to pass people’s anger onto the executive power and this is disorganizing the government. It’s hard to deny the political system is coming apart.

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