News Release

Greek Elections: Why Now?

BBC reports: “Greece crisis: PM Tsipras ‘to hold September election’.”

COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, cpanayotakis at gmail.com
Panayotakis is professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York and author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He said today: “Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to call early elections in September is an attempt to complete the transformation of his party, Syriza, from the main anti-austerity political force in Greece to the dominant political force in the austerity camp. Going against the mandate that he received, in the July 5th referendum, to resist the Europeans’ demands for further austerity, Tsipras was forced to make an about turn and accept the continuation of the kind of austerity policies that Greeks elected him to reverse. Responding to the refusal of more than 30 deputies of his party to vote for this new wave of austerity, Tsipras is calculating that early elections will allow him to reaffirm his position as prime minister before the full effect of these measures begins in coming months to be fully felt by ordinary Greeks.”

DIMITRI LASCARIS, dimitri.lascaris at siskinds.com, @dimitrilascaris
Lascaris has done extensive reporting on Greece for The Real News, most recently “Greek Bailout Approved in Parliament Causing a Rebellion in Syriza.” See “Greece: The Battle Against Austerity” for more background and video from Greece.

He said today: “European media report that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will call a snap election for September 20. The media also speculate that Tsipras has elected to hold that election rapidly so that the vote will be held before voters have experienced the full effects of the latest and harshest round of austerity. That may well be true, but there is another potential advantage to Tsipras in moving quickly. The third ‘bailout’ of Greece has a gaping hole in it, and that hole is debt relief. Thus far, the noises emanating from European capitals point decidedly to cosmetic debt relief for Greece. A review of Greece’s compliance with the bailout is scheduled for October, and the Eurogroup has declared that debt relief cannot be negotiated unless and until that review determines that Greece is in compliance. By scheduling an election in September, Tsipras would deprive Greek voters, whether by design or otherwise, of critical information that they require to determine whether the bailout has any chance of success. Without massive debt relief for Greece, a bailout that requires the imposition of a raft of recessionary measures is doomed to fail, a point that former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has made repeatedly.”

Lascaris is a partner with the Canadian law firm of Siskinds, where he heads the firm’s securities class actions practice.