A new poll which was recently released in Greece ahead of this month’s election on September 20th, shows that the Syriza party of the recently resigned Prime Minister Alex Tsipras is in second place behind the opposition New Democracy Party. The poll shows the Syriza party, which came to power in January after a wave of support for anti-EU legislators in Athens swept the country following years of austerity, in second place with 25% while the opposition, New Democracy party, is in first place with 25.3%. The move in polling shows that Mr. Tsipras’ to hold elections may backfire on the party whose victory seemed inevitable a couple of weeks ago.
The drop in the numbers in the poll also suggest discontent within Mr. Tsipras’ own party, who promised the Greek people that he would be the anti-austerity candidate and he would be against any new bailout. After the third bailout he agreed upon this summer, more austerity is now on its way. “He promised us that he wouldn’t touch pensions and that he would tear up the bailout agreements. He didn’t tear up anything and he’s in worse position, and the Greek people are going to suffer” 72 year old pensioner Yannis said in an interview.”
Greece’s people have been struggling economically since the start of a recession (some may say depression) which began in 2009 as the world’s economy was in a downfall. The country has received three bailouts to date, the first one getting approved in May of 2010 totaling 110 billion Euros and the most recent getting approved on August 14th to help pay down the 374 billion Euro debt the country accumulated.
“Mr. Tsipras is no longer the leader that inspires hope. This is gone and it won’t come back. But he is still considered the least bad; all the other political leaders are considered toxic” John Loulis said, who is a political analyst at STR which is an Athens based communications firm.
Along with a massive amount of debt and deficits, the country has also been unable to get out of an unemployment crisis that currently sits at 24.99%, while more than half of the youth population remains jobless at 51.80.
In order for Greece to get the funds from the third bailout, they must adhere to tough new economic reforms which includes new austerity measures, and a list of new reforms that requires Greece to 1) Reform the pension system, 2) Increase taxes and 3) Adopt stricter banking rules.
“We will continue fighting with the same vigor so as not to allow the old regime to return” former Prime Minister Alex Tsipras said at a party meeting on Sunday.
The elections will also be seen as a crucial vote for the future of the EU as an organization because it is feared that if Syriza is given a new vote of confidence through popular vote and Mr. Tsipras returns to power, he could use that to leave the EU (also known as a Grexit), leading to a cascading effect where other debt ridden countries, most notably, Portugal, Spain and Italy leave the organization.
“Greek’s are very tired but they are no longer delusional” Mr. Loulis continued in his statement.
Ultimately, the Greek people should keep in mind that their decision not only affects their country but also the countries that are involved within the EU as they also have made deals with numerous creditors to help them pay their social programs, which must also be honored.