The outcome of Monday’s parliamentary ballot for a new president had been predestined since the first vote on December 17. No observer or analyst fostered any delusions about the final result; they simply did not want to say so because they wanted to maintain their credibility in the case of a miracle. Miracles, however, are few and far between these days, and almost nonexistent in politics, particularly when the prevailing atmosphere is so adverse to any good surprises. In Greece, there is nothing about the climate that has been created by everyone (the leadership, politicians, society and the media) that is conducive to hope for a political miracle.
That said, it is impossible to know what the average Greek expects of the January 25 snap election and how he or she will act at the ballot box. No one knows whether Greeks feel that “the future has already started” and are “optimistic and happy,” as opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras claimed, whether they believe that “the [Antonis] Samaras – [Evangelos] Venizelos parenthesis is closed,” as Independent Greeks head Panos Kammenos would have it, whether the country “has a duty to turn over a new leaf,” as Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left said, or whether “the truth will shine during the pre-election period,” as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras so optimistically predicted.
Meanwhile, as the politicians said their piece, the Athens Stock Exchange took a sharp nosedive and the yield of the 10-year bond reached 9 percent.
The only thing that is certain is that more turbulence lies ahead for Greece. In fact, this was apparent even before the presidential election began. A new term being bandied about in European meetings is that Greece is “unreformable,” in short that it is doomed to fail. This is never said officially, of course, but if it is a belief that is starting to become embedded among the major decision-makers, it is a good indication of what’s to come. This is especially so if the notion prevails that Europe can be forced to change direction under pressure from the battering ram called SYRIZA. Because even if Europe were to ease up on its demands for austerity, it will certainly not be because it was dictated by the leftist party.
No one can argue with any amount of conviction that the outgoing government did a good job. The simple truth is that it failed, and especially in the period following the spring elections for the European Parliament and local government, after which it displayed numerous signs of ineptitude. On the other hand, though, there is absolutely nothing convincing in the rubbish being dished out in the form of promises and pronouncement by the so-called “anti-memorandum” forces. Unless, of course, Greeks are ready to commit collective suicide.