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Incompetence fails SYRIZA’s governing

16 February 2016 / 18:02:05  GRReporter
6335 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Over a year after the radical left SYRIZA party won the parliamentary elections and formed a coalition with Panos Kammenos’ Independent Greeks, there is a strong belief that, in the next parliamentary elections in Greece, whenever they take place, SYRIZA will suffer a great loss.

According to Cas Mudde, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, the reason for this is that Alexis Tsipras and his party’s recent supporters in the three election races last year will have already experienced the consequences of the third rescue programme signed by him.

During the presentation of his first book in Athens last March the political scientist pointed out that SYRIZA’s success in the elections was due to the long populist tradition created by PASOK in 1981.

In his new book entitled "SYRIZA: The Failure of Populist Promises" he is analyzing in depth why Alexis Tsipras has chosen Independent Greeks as a coalition partner, how populism can unite two parties that belong to the opposite poles of the political spectrum and is making some forecasts for the future of the Greek political scene.


For Mudde, SYRIZA’s choice of a coalition partner in January 2015 was more than logical, because the link with the right-wing populist Independent Greeks party was not its radical left agenda but populism. He recalled his definition of populism as an ideology that divides society into two homogenous and antagonistic groups, namely "pure people" and a "corrupt elite". "In January the two parties were united by their opposition to the memoranda of economic aid. That was a sufficient condition to form a coalition and govern together. In September, however, having already signed the third memorandum, Alexis Tsipras’s decision again to form a coalition with Panos Kammenos had no logical explanation outside the framework of populism," he said.

According to the political scientist, the fast failure of their governing is mostly due to their incompetence because "there is no room for political incompetence in governing." He also thinks that the leading figures in SYRIZA and Independent Greeks were not prepared for this. "In the best case we are talking about well-intentioned amateurs," said Mudde.

At the same time, he defined as an unrealistic fantasy SYRIZA’s election rhetoric that it is possible for Greece to be part of the euro zone without observing the rules of austerity, and the expectation that politics in Europe will make a turn to the left.

The political scientist summed up the contents of the book in a video that was played during the presentation of the book.

Like most serious analysts, Cas Mudde pointed out that, in recent years, the political situation in Greece was too variable and difficult to predict. However, he said that SYRIZA would not be able to complete the government term. "Independent Greeks know they will not survive the next elections and SYRIZA’s rates fall," he said.

At the same time, he determined the election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis leader of New Democracy as a threat, but also as a great opportunity for Alexis Tsipras and explained, "A threat because he brings a new message and can unite the centre-right space, resulting in two parties, New democracy and SYRIZA, monopolizing again the Greek politics. With the exception of the Communist Party of Greece and Golden Dawn with support of around 5 per cent, all the other parties will find difficult to enter parliament. Mitsotakis, however, is an opportunity because he is a member of an old political family, he has worked in the field of finance abroad and is the face of everything that SYRIZA defines as a "corrupt elite".

According to Mudde, Alexis Tsipras could easily take advantage of this and continue with his current rhetoric. Thus, he will be able not only to regain the support of recent voters but also to win the votes of those who have not yet decided whom they will support in possible elections.

Tags: PoliticsSYRIZAIndependent GreeksPopulismCas Mudde
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