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article imageOp-Ed: The Greek voting dilemma

By Katerina Nikolas     Jun 17, 2012 in Politics
Dictated to by the German press and terrorized by the Greek press, voters in Sunday's Greek elections are presented with a ballot offering a no win situation.
Civil servants, who traditionally vote for the party which promises political patronage, are flocking to the empty promises offered by Alexis Tsipras. If his party wins power he has promised there will be no more job cuts, no more austerity and a nice little pay rise to boot. Quite where the money comes from to finance his promises is unclear, but out of thin air is a good guess. Although Tsipras has mentioned exploiting Greece's oil resources and taxing shipping magnates, any monies will not be in Greek coffers by Monday morning, when he plans to triumphantly hand out his largesse, or more likely renege on his empty electioneering promises.
Tsipras' Coaltion of the Extreme Left stands in marked contrast to the far-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) who campaigned on a promise to rid Greece of illegal immigrants, a message taken up and exploited in recent days by the conservative New Democracy whose leader, Anthonis Samaras, has suddenly promised to quell the invasion of illegal immigrants. Increasingly it appears that although the core ideology of Chrysi Avgi may have its roots in neo-Nazism, the surge of support it has garnered is from Greeks weary of crime, rather than a suddenly converted mass of Hitler fans. Just as the traditional parties of PASOK and New Democracy offered political favour for votes, Golden Dawn promises protection to supporters who feel increasingly unsafe, and wary of leftists and communists. Following the infamous TV assault by Ilias Kasidiaris on an unpopular Communist, support for Golden Dawn may be even higher than the seven percent it polled in May.
On one hand voters are faced with the appaling decision of re-electing the very crooks who engineered the current mess that represents Greece's economic crisis, or of risking a vote on the unknown quantity that Tsipras represents, leading to a likely disorderly default and exit from the euro zone. A vote for Tsipras is a vote for hyperinflation, power blackouts and ATMS's spewing out useless euros rubber stamped with a drachma symbol, if the banks even have any funds left to feed the machines.
The disillusionment will leave many voters unwilling to turn out to the polling booths today. Others will stay away from economic necessity, lacking the funds to finance a trip back to their villages to cast their vote. Elections are not only a costly affair to the Greek nation which can ill afford them, but costly to the voter who must travel often great distances to vote.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Greek elections, SYRIZA, Areopoli, Alexis Tsipras, New Democracy
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