Socialist Worker

Greek left swing in Greek elections brings Tory defeat a step closer

by Panos Garganas in Athens
Issue No. 2404

Greek socialists await the election result

Greek socialists await the election result (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


The local and regional elections were very bad for the Tory government in Greece.

For the first time ever there is no New Democracy conservative candidate in the second round for mayor of Athens or in the surrounding region of Attica.

The run-off next weekend will be between the Syriza and centre left candidates. This area represents a third of the voting population. 

It’s a big swing to the left, especially in the major working class districts which have seen most struggle against austerity. It is a disaster for the Tories. 

Commentators said that the success of the left in 2012’s general election was a one off, the product of an explosion of anger against austerity and wouldn’t be repeated. But they were wrong.

This time the Communist Party (CP) also did well. In 2012 they got 5 percent, now they are back up to 10 percent. 

The same applies on a smaller scale to Antarsya, which the Socialist Workers Party in Greece supports. We stood in 12 out of the 13 districts in Greece on a revolutionary platform. We won 2.3 percent of the vote—that’s 125,000 votes. 

This is the highest result ever polled by the far left here. We won 15 councillors in city councils where our vote was 2.6 percent and seven in district councils. 

Momentum

The results create a momentum for the European election. If Syriza leads the field with a wide margin the government won’t survive and it will open the way for another general election.

There is a lot of red baiting. People are angry and desperate. The Syriza leadership has been trying to win votes by presenting a moderate face. 

It recently came out against a key workers’ demand to reinstate extra pay that many used to receive at Easter and Christmas.

Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras said it would not restore this until the economy picks up. That is the height of stupidity and it alienates left wing voters who have been involved in so much struggle.

The vote of the Labour-style Pasok has collapsed. Candidates often stood as independents and new centre left tickets are trying to fill the space. 

One of these is the Olive Coalition, which includes Pasok. A journalist leads another—River. 

One important part of the picture is the neo-Nazi vote. It is similar to their share in 2012. This is contradictory. At one stage after the 2012 election they were heading for double digit results, but this didn’t happen. 

On the surface they have stagnated, but sustaining their last results is actually a boost for them. 

Since the last elections they have been exposed as criminals and there have been huge demonstrations against them. Now they have been given a new chance to re-organise. 

The Tories have played into the Nazis’ hands. They ran a very racist and Islamophobic campaign saying, for example, that they wouldn’t allow a mosque to be built in central Athens. 

The acting leader of the Nazi Golden Dawn, who faces criminal charges, was not remanded in custody with other Golden Dawn members and stood in the Athens mayoral elections. 

He got way above their national average, benefiting from the collapse of the Tory vote. 

These elections are not parliamentary. But the results, and the coming European elections, bring us one step closer to the end of this Tory government and its rotten austerity. 

 


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International
Tue 20 May 2014, 20:06 BST
Issue No. 2404
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