Greece: elections for what?

Note kindly ranslated by Anne-Marie de Grazia

The elections of Sunday September 20 in Greece lead to a new success for SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras. But one with a bitter after-taste. True, in percentage of the votes, Tsipras seems to have won his bet. The left of SYRIZA, which had left the party following the capitulation of July 13, 2015, will not be represented in Parliament. Yet, the results are troubling on more grounds than one. Abstention progressed by 7% in relation to the elections of January 2015. The flight of voters away from the parties who accepted Brussels’ iniquitous conditions is impressive. Syriza loses close to 14% of its voters, New Democracy loses 11% and To Potami nearly 50%[1]. Only the far-right party « Golden Dawn » maintains to some extent its number of votes (and is therefore in progress in comparison with the elections of January 25th).

“Blank” and “invalid” votes also increased considerably. All goes to indicate that the mistrust of the electorate towards the institutions made an appreciable jump between January and September.

Graph 1

Regions where SYRIZA and New Democracy arrived ahead.

A - ElecGrèce


Blue: New Democracy

The analysis which can be made of this vote shows that the voters of the left considered that it was better to give their vote (for those who did at all) to SYRIZA so as to avoid a return at the helm of the oligarchic rightist party, « New Democracy ». The nepotism reigning in this party (as well as at PASOK) has left bad memories.

But this constitutes only a lesser evil. It is obvious that the 3rd memorandum will be implemented in all its harshness and that Tsipras, having accepted the conditions which have been imposed on him, will have no margin for manoeuvre. The idea of a passive resistance, if it may have some credit in the opinion, does not hold before the facts [2]. The left of “rejection” has been able neither to concretize the manifest disaffection from SYRIZA, because of its divisions (three parties were in contest for the votes of those disillusioned by SYRIZA) as well as because of its sectarianism (in the case of the KKE).

It’s on the side of the economic situation that events will precipitate in the coming weeks. The situation in Greece will not improve through the application of the 3rd memorandum, which anyway was not conceived with this in mind, and it is already considered to be desperate [3]. The first indications we have about the 3rd quarter give to think that the contraction of economic activity in July and August 2015 has been brutal. Industrial production could go down -8% to -10% and GDP from -3% to -5%. Obviously, such decreases in production will bring about a decrease in tax incomes and as early as end of October, the Greek government will have to ask for new amounts from its creditors.

It is clear today that there is no future for Greece as long as it remains in the Eurozone and as long as it does not default on a considerable amount of its debt. This is beginning to be said at the IMF as well as in the antechambers of the European Union. Greece’s file is still on the table. Even if, today, other problems are focusing attention, such as the refugees crisis, it will return as a political problem by the end of October.


[2] Godin R., « La Grèce entre en résistance », La Tribune, 21 September 2015,

[3] Bootle R., Greece’s new government and the Troika have to face the awful truth, The Independent, 20 septembre 2015,


Jacques Sapir

Ses travaux de chercheur se sont orientés dans trois dimensions, l’étude de l’économie russe et de la transition, l’analyse des crises financières et des recherches théoriques sur les institutions économiques et les interactions entre les comportements individuels. Il a poursuivi ses recherches à partir de 2000 sur les interactions entre les régimes de change, la structuration des systèmes financiers et les instabilités macroéconomiques. Depuis 2007 il s'est impliqué dans l’analyse de la crise financière actuelle, et en particulier dans la crise de la zone Euro.

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