What’s at stake

Sunday’s election will be decisive for Greece.

Voters are very confused and their behavior could be unpredictable. You hear centrist voters who mainly voted for PASOK in previous elections now vehemently backing New Democracy, as former conservative supporters criticize their old party. At the same time, a large number of SYRIZA supporters admit that party leader Alexis Tsipras will by no means do everything he has pledged. Others are certain that “the foreigners will surely back down” or that “the Americans are behind Tsipras, so everything will be fine in the end.” In other words it’s sheer madness.

It is interesting that a large section of voters are heading to the ballot boxes filled with cold anger. This is not the anger of 2012 or the frustration of the early bailout years. It is a weird aloofness to the risks of the day after.

As for Greece’s so-called guardians, it’s business as usual. They seem oblivious to the fact that in serious nations everyone sticks to their role. When businesspeople turn into pirates who only look after their own interests, then capitalism indeed degenerates into kleptocracy. When the pillars of the political system style themselves as anti-systemic, all sense of moderation gets lost and it becomes visible to the naked eye that this country has neither ethical nor institutional foundations.

In a way, it was to be expected. It’s only natural for businesspeople who are used to feeding off the state to resist Greece becoming a more organic part of Europe. Their sole concern is to be on good terms with the establishment. If things turn messy, they will get a bucket of popcorn, sit on the couch and watch the drama unfold. And if they get really messy, it will be cheaper to pay off their debts here and buy out what’s left thanks to their foreign deposits. It’s a win-win situation for them.

Unfortunately, all that has been prepared by a big part of Greece’s ruling class for decades. That said, it’s clear that our best hope to change and move forward is to stay on the European wagon. These elections are key if only for that reason. It’s not likely, but it’s not impossible either that Greece will find itself out of the eurozone because of the clumsy handling of an inexperienced bunch in Athens and the stubbornness of officials in Berlin. For the time being, we are living on the certainty that this is out of the question. The majority of Greeks want to stay in the euro, but at the same time they deem that the Europeans won’t kick us out if we play tough. Most outsiders believe that Greece will act reasonably and not try to call Europe’s bluff. Let’s hope that no fatal mistake is made.