PASOK and SYRIZA

PASOK, Greek Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima, social democratic political party in Greece. The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) was founded in 1974 as a radical Marxist-inspired party that called for the dissolution of the country’s military alliances and for tighter government regulation of the economy, but since its founding it has transformed into a mainstream social democratic party. The problem with Parties moving to the Right is that they become more liberal, neo-liberal.
Following its strong showing in the 1977 elections, PASOK began to moderate its agenda, seeking to appeal to centrist voters. Its combination of nationalist rhetoric (it was strongly anti-Turkish) and its promise of social reform helped PASOK win the 1981 elections, in which it captured nearly half of the popular vote and nearly three-fifths of the seats in parliament. Once in power, PASOK took no steps to end the country’s memberships in NATO and the EEC or to close the American bases in the country as it had threatened while in opposition. Implementing a socialist economic program proved problematic, particularly because such a large element of Greece’s workforce was self-employed. In power, PASOK proved to be more populist than socialist. Little structural change occurred during PASOK’s rule, but a number of measures were introduced that liberalized Greek society
They are our sister party in the Socialist International.
We must admit, Pasok is an example of the failure of SI parties who moved from Socialism to Liberalism.
in October 2009, PASOK swept into power, claiming 160 of the Greek parliament’s 300 seats, and party leader Papandreou became the third member of his family to hold the office of prime minister. Papandreou’s troubled tenure was defined by the country’s deepening debt crisis, which eventually resulted in a series of massive bailouts by the European Union and International Monetary Fund that required the imposition of draconian austerity measures that were widely unpopular with Greeks. In November 2011 Papandreou stepped down as prime minister to pave the way for the formation of a “unity” coalition government. PASOK fared badly in parliamentary elections in May 2012, finishing third with only some 13 percent of the total vote. Though the ND captured about 19 percent of the vote, no party was able to form a coalition to govern, and voters returned to the polls in June, with PASOK again finishing a weak third but joining the coalition government led by the ND.
Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s left-wing Syriza party, was sworn in as the new prime minister Monday after forming a coalition government with the small, right-wing Independent Greeks party. He plans to now take on European creditors in his push to end austerity in the debt-ridden country.

Mr. Tsipras seeks to end what he calls a humanitarian crisis, with a quarter of Greeks out of work and millions living in poverty.

Syriza has won the Greek election and we congratulate them. The failure of PASOK has lead to this. We hope PASOK finds its way back to Socialism. Probably not. While the prospect of a Greek exit doesn’t rattle markets like it did in 2011 and 2012, Syriza is not an outlier. From Spain to Italy, France to Ireland, the austerity prescription is increasingly being rejected.

“This can become the spark that allows those who’ve kept silent in Europe to push for a new equilibrium in the eurozone,” says Romolo Gandolfo, an Italian expert on Greek politics in Athens.

The election also comes at a time when Europe faces direct and indirect threats that require cohesion. “With jihadism and the Russian crisis, and the conflict across Arab territories, can Europe afford a big political, economic, and social crisis?” asks Dimitris Charalambis, a political science professor at the University of Athens. “The answer is, probably not.”

Though the European Union has problems, we in the ALP reject Euro skepticism.
Greece’s Syriza party looks set for a comfortable victory over the ruling conservatives, exit polls and preliminary results from the government showed, with the anti-austerity political upstart receiving strong backing from voters angry at the spending restrictions imposed on the country by the European Union and the IMF so that Greece can pay back its international creditors.

The result is likely to trigger a standoff with austerity-minded Germany and could threaten the distribution of the next tranche of more than 7 billion euros in outstanding international aid Greece needs in the next few months.

Syriza could gain 35.5-39.5 percent of the vote, well ahead of the conservative New Democracy party of outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on 23-27 percent, according a joint exit poll for Greek television stations issued immediately after voting ended. Other individual exit polls showed similarly strong leads for Syriza, which also indicated a change that Syriza could claim an outright majority in parliament.

There are lessons here for all SI parties.

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