THE PASOK socialist party and its leader, George Papandreou, won a landslide election victory on Sunday in Greece’s snap general election, winning over 43 per cent of the vote against the New Democracy’s 35 per cent.
In fact, it was the Greek working class and youth who forced the right wing New Democracy party into calling a ‘snap’ election, just halfway through its term, with massive industrial actions and huge youth demonstrations against its privatisation, wage cutting and pension busting polices.
The upheaval began in October 2008 when a strike, led by hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers, brought the country to a halt.
There were more strikes in December, along with a major nationwide youth insurrection, which featured organised assaults on police stations and the capitalist state after the police killed a 15-year-old boy in Athens.
Because of this revolutionary movement of the working class and youth, in almost all cases opposed by the trade union bureaucracy and the KKE Greek Communist party, PASOK is now the government.
The KKE, Communist Party has won 7.53 per cent of the vote, with 4.59 per cent going to the revisionist Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance, both well above the three per cent parliamentary representation threshold.
The PASOK leader, Papandreou, told cheering supporters in Athens: ‘I promise that I will do whatever is possible so that all Greeks will believe again that we can succeed, when we are united.’ Earlier he had promised to build a green economy and bring in foreign experts to help Greece overcome its problems, aided by a 3bn Euro stimulus package.
The Greek economy is expected to contract in 2009, while the budget deficit will exceed 6% of economic output. The new government will have to borrow heavily just to service the ballooning debt – set to exceed 100 per cent of GDP this year – and to keep paying public sector wages and pensions.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General, Aleka Papariga, termed Sunday’s election results as a ‘heavy defeat for New Democracy,’ adding ‘there was a change of captain, but the direction is on the same course’.
She predicted that a storm of anti-popular measures are coming, and said that the KKE ‘shall be on the front line of the struggle to thwart the worst and for seeking solutions to relieve the people.’ Left Coalition (SYRIZA) revisionist leader, Alexis Tsipras, telephoned Papandreou to congratulate him and wish him all the best.
Tsipras had to give a slightly different message to the masses. This was: ‘The government is changing, but what is required is for government policy to change as well.’ He added ‘Our aim is to distinguish ourselves as a force of Leftist programme opposition.’ The Stalinists have pledged to try and relieve the sufferings of the people, while the revisionists want to be a ‘left’ parliamentary opposition to Papandreou.
Neither party are interested in leading the struggle for workers’ power and socialism against the Papandreou government, which will be a capitalist government, carrying out the policies of the EU’s Central Bank.
Only the Revolutionary Marxist League, the Greek Section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, will take up the task of mobilising the working class and the youth for a socialist revolution, that will see a workers and small farmers government established that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers.
This will be, in particular, a great example to the working class of Europe, and will strike a huge blow for the European socialist revolution, and for a Socialist United States of Europe.