You can listen to the podcast, as usual, after the jump.
|By Spyros Derveniotis
Translation: “Dirty immigrants, dying
where the Greeks eat!
Greece recently had two very important political anniversaries. More specifically, May 6th, 2013, marked three years since the adoption of the Memorandum which caused the greatest political rearrangements in the country’s recent history, and one year since the 2012 general elections, when those dramatic changes were first expressed through the ballot box. Greek society is living in a period where political time is condensed to such a degree, that the changes occurring every month and every week can hardly be conceived by its collective consciousness. Since the May 2012 elections, which did not lead to the formation of a new government but to repeat elections a month later, the country’s image and its political landscape kept changing at a rapid pace until today. In light of a greater tribute to the one year anniversary since last June’s elections, when today’s three-party coalition government came to power, we take a look at the facts and data which changed in this past year, starting from last May’s elections.
According to the official figures of the Ministry of Interior, only 62.47% of Greeks actually voted in the June 17 elections. Participation was hardly better on 06 May, at 65.1%. Various commentators in Greece and abroad intepreted this high abstention rate in what was unanimously called “the most crucial elections in Greece since 1974” as a lack of interest in the political process or even a wholesale rejection of the political class. However, these figures are challenges by a simple fact: the number of people who are actually living in Greece.
A lot has been said about the fact that large numbers of Greek policemen are supporters and voters of the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn. The first publication of this sort in a mainstream newspaper was an article by Vasilis Lambropoulos in To Vima on 11 May 2012, where he concluded that data from specific polling stations where policemen vote showed that some 50% of policemen had actually voted for Golden Dawn in the 06 May elections. Today, Lambropoulos published another article, saying that this tendency had been confirmed in the 17 June elections.
In the past few days, there have been so many changes, transfers, counter-transfers and mergers on the Greek political scene that it has all become a little confusing, even for experienced observers of Greek politics. While this phenomenon can be interpreted as simple, cheap politicking by individuals seeking to secure their re-election in June, careful examination of the backgrounds of some politicians also reveals a worrying tendency to mainstream and trivialize the opinions and positions of personalities who, by all reasonable standards, belong to the extreme-right.
Below is an English-language summary of the transcript of the meeting held on 15/05/2012 between the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, and the leaders of Nea Demokratia (Antonis Samaras), SYRIZA (Alexis Tsipras), PASOK (Evangelos Venizelos), Independent Greeks (Panos Kammenos) and Democratic Left (Fotis Kouvelis) in a last-ditch attempt to form a coalition government after the failure of consultations held on 13/05/2012 and 14/05/2012. The leader of the Communist Party (Aleka Papariga) declined to attend, while the leader of neo-nazi Golden Dawn (Nikolaos Michaloliakos) was not invited.
The original transcript of the meeting as published by the presidency can be found here.
The original minutes published by the presidency can be found here.
Updated post here.
In Greek elections, voters select the ballot paper of the political party of their choice, then tick the names of those candidates they support (between 1 and 4, depending on the size of the constituency).
Blank and spoiled ballot papers are not counted.
Parties must earn at least 3% of valid votes to enter parliament. For those who pass the 3% threshold, 250 of the 300 seats are allocated on a strictly proportional basis. The remaining 50 seats are allocated as a “bonus” to the party that obtains the highest number of votes nationwide.
A party or coalition needs 151 seats to secure a majority in parliament and be able to form a government.
To determine the percentage of nationwide votes needed to secure a majority, you should deduct from 100% the percentage of valid votes obtained by parties who did not reach the 3% threshold and multiply the percentage left by 0.404.