Narrow New Democracy Win – A Minor Breathing Space For Bosses!

The Greek working class on the march through Athens during a General Strike
The Greek working class on the march through Athens during a General Strike

IN CONDITIONS of polarisation, the conservative New Democracy party won Sunday’s crucial and vastly internationally significant Greek general election gaining 29.6 per cent of the votes cast, about 1.8m votes, an increase of 10.8 per cent since May’s election.

The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) came second with 26.9 per cent, about 1.6m votes, an increase of 10.2 per cent since May.

The result allows New Democracy which elected 129 parliamentary deputies (due to the scandalous electoral law that gives a bonus of 50 parliamentary seats to the top party), to form a pro-EC-IMF Accords majority coalition government with the social-democrats of PASOK who won 33 parliamentary deputies, thus making up 162 deputies in the 300 seats Vouli (Greek parliament), a majority of 12.

There was a sigh of deep relief from the EC leaders and bankers who were terrorised by the prospect of the Greek workers and the middle class defeating the EC-IMF imposed Accords in the polls. By lunchtime Monday the Athens stock exchange greeted the result shooting up by 5.5 per cent.

The social-democrats of PASOK received 12.3 per cent losing 0.9 per cent compared to the last election. The other four parties that entered the Vouli saw their share of the vote and their deputies reduced as well.

Abstention reached record levels with 37.5 per cent of voters staying away from the ballot boxes.

In May’s election, about 19 per cent of the votes cast went to several parties which failed to win more than three per cent of the total vote, a condition to enter the Vouli; this time only six per cent of the vote went to these parties the rest splitting almost equally to New Democracy and SYRIZA.

The right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks party gained 7.5 per cent (down from 10.6 per cent last May), while the fascist Golden Dawn party got 6.9 per cent slightly down from May.

The pro-EC bourgeois Democratic Left party got 6.2 per cent up very slightly from May.

The Stalinist Greek Communist Party (KKE) recorded one of its heaviest electoral defeats, receiving just 4.5 per cent of the vote losing about half of the votes it got in May when it gained 8.5 per cent of the vote.

The anti-capitalist ANTARSYA formation was depressed to just 0.3 of the vote from 1.2 per cent in the May election.

In this general election the Greek working class and youth voted en mass for SYRIZA which topped the polls with 37 per cent of the vote, on average, throughout the Athens and Piraeus working class city councils and 30 per cent in those in Salonica, Greece’s second most populous city.

SYRIZA also came first in all the large industrial and port city councils of Piraeus, Patras (western Greece), Volos (central Greece) and Iraklio on the island of Crete.

This solid workers’ vote for SYRIZA showed that the call for a Left government received mass support from workers who saw it as the vehicle to defeat the EC-IMF imposed Accords.

This was a vote of militant determination to get rid of the Accords of barbaric austerity measures. But the SYRIZA leaders refused to carry this struggle forward.

In the last two weeks of the election campaign the SYRIZA leaders talked of ‘renegotiations’ with the EC-IMF on the hated Accords, when previously they called for the ‘annulment’ of all the austerity measures that have produced record unemployment and widespread poverty.

The SYRIZA leaders had insisted all along on Greece remaining in the Euro and in NATO, the mortal enemies of the Greek people.

The SYRIZA leaders’ ‘renegotiation’ stand sounded and was almost identical to the New Democracy’s propaganda of ‘negotiations to improve’ the EC-IMF Accords.

Thus large sections of the middle class in the cities and the majority of farmers in the countryside voted for New Democracy instead of the clouded vision and uncertainty offered by SYRIZA.

Following the election, the leader of SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras stressed the huge gains of SYRIZA since the 2009 elections, when it got 4.6 per cent, and said that ‘we faced an unholy alliance of forces inside and outside Greece.’

This is absolutely true as the election campaign was fought in reality not between the Greek political parties, but was deeply marked by the unprecedented open and continuous interventions of all the EC, German, French, British and US leaders who called for a vote for the pro-EC parties.

The conservative New Democracy party came top of the polls in the city councils of Athens and Salonica, in the medium sized cities, as well as in all, mostly agrarian, electoral districts in northern and southern Greece.

New Democracy was pushed back up to nearly 30 per cent of the vote due to the huge support offered by the EC and world capitalist leaders but most importantly by SYRIZA’s compromising stand regarding the EC-IMF Accords.

The leader of the New Democracy party Antonis Samaras said it would try to form a coalition government with PASOK but also with the fanatically pro-EC and Euro small Democratic Left party which has also called for ‘negotiations’ with the EC and IMF so as to ‘fade away in stages’ the Accords of austerity measures.

Whichever hue of a coalition government emerges, it will be a government on orders from the EC and IMF to unleash immediately a vicious class war on Greek workers and youth.

The EC-IMF Accords demand immediately public spending cuts of over 11bn Euros, at least another 15 per cent wages and pensions cuts and mass sackings of public sector workers and civil servants.

These will be most determinally resisted by the workers and youth in Greece.

The stage is set for a tremendous historic head-on class confrontation in a period of the Eurozone collapse and the deepening of the world economic crisis.

The electoral victory of the New Democracy and the capitalist coalition government is in deep political crisis as its real base of support is not in Greece but in Brussels and Berlin – both rocked by the Eurozone collapse and the resistance of the European working class.

In the coming revolutionary class struggles Greek workers and youth have to form mass People’s Assemblies and a United Resistance Front and organise an indefinite political general strike to fight the coalition’s attacks.

In this struggle it must build the Revolutionary Marxist League, the Greek section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, into a mass revolutionary party to overthrow capitalism and establish a socialist workers’ and small-farmers’ government.