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Ideological delusions and clientelism of politicians are making 2015 difficult for the Greeks

22 December 2014 / 20:12:50  GRReporter
3400 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

A day before the second vote for the election of a new president the forecasts on the probability of 200 deputies supporting the candidature proposed by the cabinet, Stavros Dimas, are negative.

On Sunday, in an extraordinary address to the Greek citizens, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appealed to the lawmakers to vote for Dimas, promising early parliamentary elections in late 2015 in return.
 
It will become clear on Tuesday whether the appeal for consensus will yield results, although analysts state that the third vote that will take place on 29 December will be decisive. Then 180 votes will suffice to elect a president.

Meanwhile, the press office of the radical left SYRIZA party had postponed the press conference of party leader Alexis Tsipras for representatives of foreign media in Greece. They were informed that the press conference scheduled to take place just after the second vote for the election of a president was set to take place "in the middle, and certainly by the end, of January."

The political instability and its consequences on the economy were the topic of the conversation between GRReporter and journalist Kostas Stoupas of the online economic edition capital.gr.

How do you explain Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ move to propose elections in 2015 in exchange for the election of a president?

The main conclusion that emerges from this action is that the Prime Minister has considered that there is no way to obtain the 180 votes required for the election of a president by the present parliament. This will mean an announcement of early elections. Therefore, the Prime Minister has proposed reaching consensus with the opposition on holding general elections at the end of 2015, i.e. six months before the end of the four-year term of office.

We have been in a pre-election atmosphere since the Prime Minister had initially considered that the election of a president by this parliament is wrong. Even if the opposition accepts this proposal, Greece will live in anticipation of elections for a year.

If the proposal is not accepted and a president is not elected, we will have elections in January 2015 and a number of important issues such as the amendment of the constitution and many more will be postponed for the future. This is the main problem of this scenario.

What are the chances of Greece having a president by the end of 2014?

I think they are now minimal. Following the developments associated with the accusations of attempting to bribe deputy Pavlos Haikalis from Independent Greeks, the deputies who have considered voting for the government presidential candidate ultimately will not do so in order to stay out of this example of low blows in politics, of a policy of accusations, corruption, bribery, etc.

I think the most likely scenario is early elections in the coming January. In this way, the issues about the completion of the talks and the conclusion of an agreement with the supervisory Troika will remain open. Greece has received a two-month extension, but it is too short. Whether we will have a new government or if the present one will remain in power, neither of them will have the time to complete the negotiations, not only in terms of granting the subsequent bailout to Greece but also in terms of enabling the European Central Bank and the capital markets to loosen the liquidity constraints imposed on the Greek economy.

In recent weeks, we have witnessed a crisis in the stock market associated with the Greek bonds. How does the political crisis affect the economy of the country?

Every crisis starts from the most sensitive assets and then spreads to the less sensitive ones. The collapse of the Athens Stock Exchange began around March 2014 when the main opposition SYRIZA party began to lead in the polls.

Shares were the first to respond. The rise in interest rates on government bonds followed in the autumn, and as I am now seeing in publications in the weekend editions of the newspapers Ta Nea and Kathimerini there are already troubles at bank counters, as people are worried about their deposits. Furthermore, according to some reports, importers are experiencing problems with foreign manufacturers because they require prepayment of the goods imported in Greece. This will give rise to problems in the market and I think that if the forecast for early elections early next year is confirmed, these phenomena will intensify over the coming weeks.

Was it reasonable to put forward the procedure for electing a president before the holidays and how will this affect consumption?

I think he had no choice, because even after the European elections in May the probability of the present parliament being unable to appoint a president of the country, resulting in early elections, had already begun to negatively affect the economy.

The Prime Minister would have won nothing if he had left it for the procedure to take place in February. In fact, he would have extended this situation for another two months.

But the point lies more in the fact that even if elections do take place, the most likely scenario is that, in the coming months, it will be very difficult to restore the economy to its pre-summer levels.

Tags: PoliticsElections of a presidentEarly electionsEconomyAntonis SamarasStavros DimasSYRIZA
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