It's one thing for voters to vote in a different major party when things turn bad, like what is happening in France. It's something entirely different when the people decide that both major parties have betrayed them, and vote in minority parties.
That is what is happening today in Greece.
Two years after Greece entered the tunnel of indefinite austerity of EU-IMF oversight, the Greek electorate appears to have dealt a resounding blow to the two once biggest parties, Pasok and ND, which are blamed for bringing the country to the point of bankruptcy.So who's the big winner? The left wing Syriza coalition. Their winning platform? A rejection of the austerity measures.
The complete upset of the political system appeared to be confirmed by exit polls that placed left wing Syriza second, with 14-18 percent. For days, the party was expected to multiply its 4.6 percent result from 2009, when it placed fifth. Party leader Alexis Tsipras has campaigned on a platform of forming a wider, leftwing coalition that would include both the Greek Communist Party (which has adamantly refused to form a coalition government) and Fotis Kouvelis’ Democratic Left Party, which is getting 4.5-6.5 percent in the exit polls.60% also happens to be about the percentage of votes that parties opposing austerity have recieved.
Exit polls showed that about 60 percent of the electorate voted for a different party than they did in 2009.
Remember that the only two parties that back the austerity measures also happen to be the two long-time ruling parties. They recieved over 77% of the votes in 2009. They are falling well short of that today.
The exit polls showed conservative New Democracy and Socialist PASOK, who have dominated Greece for decades, reaching a maximum of 37 percent of the vote combined.Besides the 23% unemployment rate (more than 50% among the youth), 5 years of Depression, and rising suicide rates, what else are the Greeks mad about? The unfairness of the system.
In a huge upset, a previously small left-wing party, the Left Coalition, was predicted to take around the same share of the vote as PASOK with 15-18 percent. In the previous election in 2009 they had less than 5 percent.
"My vote was a protest vote because they cut my pension and there are more measures waiting for us around the corner," said 75-year-old pensioner Kalliopi, her fists clenched in anger.Foreign bankers have warned the Greek voters about electing a government that doesn't toe the line of austerity. But after a certain amount of suffering you have to wonder how much worse it can get?
"I live in a basement but pay the same (property) tax as someone who lives in a penthouse," said Kalliopi after voting in Athens.
Also, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn is getting 6-8% of the vote as expected.
As an aside, in the Schleswig-Holstein election in Germany the Pirate Party managed 8.4% of the vote.
Pirates in Germany. Nazis in Greece. What's next?
[Update: The quote of the day from Greece
"I don't think that voting for a small party will make us go bankrupt. We already are," said 53 year-old Panagiotis, a craftsman, after voting for the conservative Independent Greeks.