GREEK COALITION TALKS: Tsipras clinches deal with Democratic Left, lays out bold anti-Troika plan

But SYRIZA plan has only a slim chance of success

Following a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, who delivered the mandate to Alexis Tsipras of SYRIZA to try and form a government in Greece, the 38-year-old politician said it was “a historic moment for the left and a great challenge for me.”

Tsipras soon afterwards met with Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis. The veteran Kouvelis said later he will support second-placed Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in an anti-memorandum coalition government.

“I told Mr. Tsipras that he has the potential to proceed with a government of the left with the support of Democratic Left,” said Kouvelis. Earlier Tsipras spoke on the telephone with Greek Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga, who turned down the chance of a face-to-face meeting.

The SYRIZAS five point plan laid out by Tsipras isn’t going to go down well in Berlin-sur-Brussels:

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers’ rights, such as the abolition of collective labour agreements.

* The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system.

* An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock.

* The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece’s public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.

Equally, it isn’t going to go down well with the IIF’s Charles Dallara, many of whose members are hereby being served notice that Tsipras will be on their case regarding the question of how Greece wound up in so much debt in the first place. I would also imagine that one or two senior Goldman Sachs partners are making good use of the executive bathrooms there at the minute.

Tsipras has indicated that he will use the full three days at his disposal to talk with all the party leaders – including those of New Democracy and PASOK – barring Chrysi Avgi, the leader of neo-Nazi Party Golden Dawn. That, if nothing else, is encouraging.

We must, however, put this attempt into some kind of realistic perspective. To say that Alexis Tsipras has a mountain to climb here is a bit like saying Evangelo Venizelos needs to eat fewer pies. Not only would his plans collapse the euromarkets if he was able to form a government, the chances are he won’t be able to. He still has well under 100 seats, and without the cooperation of the KKE Communists, the only path left open to him is to break off the more nationalist MPs among the PASOK and New Democracy ranks, while perhaps getting the tacit support of those occupying Independent Greeks’ 33 seats.

That’s a tall order. But at least he’s having a go – which is more than can be said for the risible performance of Antonis Samaras yesterday.

42 thoughts on “GREEK COALITION TALKS: Tsipras clinches deal with Democratic Left, lays out bold anti-Troika plan

  1. It’s a tall order because of the weird feature of the Greek electoral system which gives the leading party 50 bonus seats. Hence the 18.85% share of the votes won by New Democracy translates to 108 seats, while the 16.78% share won by Syriza gives it only 52 seats:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17975370

    Of course it’s for the Greeks to decide on the design of their electoral system, and they could certainly criticise our system; but it seems to me that if the people vote for a hung parliament then they should get a hung parliament, not one which has been arbitrarily adjusted to give one of the parties an overall majority of seats.

    No doubt the Tories would have welcomed the award of 108 bonus MPs after the 2010 election, but I don’t think it’s an idea we should copy.

    • DC: “It’s a tall order because of the weird feature of the Greek electoral system which gives the leading party 50 bonus seats. Hence the 18.85% share of the votes won by New Democracy translates to 108 seats, while the 16.78% share won by Syriza gives it only 52 seats:”

      It’s Constitutionally enshrined ballot-stuffing. Nothing more.

  2. “The Ecologist Greens, whose leader met with Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday, said they would not back SYRIZA in its attempt to form a government and ‘hide behind an anti-memorandum’ banner.”

  3. Just started watching 9pm news here in Greece – another hour of TV arguments……
    Seems to me that if there’s another round of elections, people may realise that there may be an alternative to ND/PASOK and vote accordingly, whatever the consequences.

  4. “which is more than can be said for the risible performance of Antonis Samaras yesterday.”

    Less than 40 minutes spent negotiating and drafting a release for the press. Sort of suggests that although he’s willing to be in coalition it’s not as the main party/ It also suggests that he’s banking that if it goes to a further election, a lot of the smaller parties will simply be unable to afford to fight again so soon and so either won’t stand or iof the do won’t put much effort in meaningg the bigger parties will increase their %share even on a lower turn-out.

  5. It seems wrong to exclude the Golden Dawn from negotiations because they are a nationalist party. If Communists are fair game, why not Nationalist parties?

    • They aren’t a nationalist party in the sense of SNP and Plaid Cymru for example. They are a nationalist party in the sense of Nazi and you do not, ever, negotiate with Nazis – it only gives them credibility.

  6. What do you mean with “an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece’s public deficit [and] how Greece wound up in so much debt in the first place”?

    Don’t they know it? Don’t they know that when regulators allowed banks to lend to Greece holding only 1.6 percent in equity… which meant authorizing a leverage of 62.5 to 1… which meant that if a bank expected a 1 percent return on a loan to Greece it could expect a 62.5 percent return on the equity used… which meant a lending temptation that no human banker could resist… and which in its turn meant a borrowing opportunity that no Greek government officer could resist?

    In 2002, seeing how the bank regulations were coming along I wrote “If they underestimate the risk of a given country, the latter will most assuredly be inundated with fresh loans and will be leveraged to the hilt”

    http://subprimeregulations.blogspot.com/2002/09/riskiness-of-country-risk.html

    • Tsipras is a pretty boy meathead with no real understanding of economics nor desire to come up with a reasonable solution… he is looking for some legal argument (valid or not) to simply not pay Greece’s debts. He is a moron… earlier today he said he wanted to start an investigation into whether or not the debt is “legal”. This is all so embarrassing…

      • -a pretty boy meathead with no real understanding of economics nor desire to come up with a reasonable solution-

        That description fits about 95% of our politicians.

        Make that 98%.

    • I think its an absolutely fundamental question that needs to be answered if only to prevent it all happening again
      …….and it doesn’t only apply to Greece
      The question goes to whether elected politicians should be empowered to bankrupt their own country………

  7. Pingback: Tsipras clinches deal with Democratic Left, lays out bold anti-Troika plan | jacktams.co.uk

  8. Tsipras is referring to debt like the Goldman Sachs swap which although it is known, it is still a secret how big it is and what are the terms and conditions and what are the small letters there.

    He is not a Stalinist communist like KKE is more like a far left social democrat party. But they have zero experience in running anything, let alone a country at the peak of the crisis.

    Also, Syriza is not really one party, but internally it is made by several fractions, each with different views.

    Golden Dawn was voted mostly by kids as a joke… maybe they should watch “The Wave” first..

    In my view the country is just looking for a credible plan. The current plan: ie. “Tagmaggedon” kills the economy. People see the ECB/EU/IMF plan leads nowhere but there is no other plan.
    Personally, I doubt there is a solution inside the euro… but this is too scary for most who are afraid of a 80-90% devaluation…

    • Far better a shortish horrible pain ,than
      never ending chronic horrible pain.
      Go the Iceland route.Have a future.
      Screw the bankers.

  9. What Tsipras seems to be doing, which I think is quite clever, is thinking forward to Greek Election Mk 2. By then, none or very few of the Troika demands can possibly have been met without a government and debts that need paying will either have been ‘sorted’ by a frantic ECB …or the walls will havevfallen. What Tsipras seems to be promising is what a much larger number than those who voted for his party last weekend actually want. Surely EuroTroikas should be very careful what they wish for if they think for one moment that a second Greek election would possibly improve the lot of Pasok or ND..rather than give his party a much larger mandate ………..what has changed is the overall climate to me.

    When I was in Athens a year ago, I could not make any of my Greek friends agree that they could be better off out of the Euro. It is a pity for so very many super small Greek businesses (deceased in 2011-12) that the propganda on their Media took till now to be seen as the outright lies to maintain the status quo and overseas bank accounts of some of the biggist sheisters on the planet.

    I wish the Greek people every success in standing up to Brussels and hope that there are enough good men (+women) and true who will stand by them over the next few months

  10. Nothing changes, does it? There will be an “imposed” technocrat govt. soon.
    Exactly as planned. We need to start considering that the “Elites” know exactly what they are doing. They are impoverishing us all, with impunity. The only way to stop them is to withhold taxes, we can’t withhold PAYE but, we could start with our “community” charge, who’s first? Answer, nobody. And don’t they know it?

  11. Reading the background stories of unpaid urgent debt, and hedge funds declaring Greek will exit the Euro within weeks, the business pages of http://www.ekathimerini.com are worth a trawl. But not to worry Van Rumpy Pumpy is having the mover and shakers around for an’informal dinner’ next week. That’ll sort it and did you know…..there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.

  12. As the Greek politicians take to the dance floor for their turn in the program “Dancing with Debt”, there will be no winner selected and new executions will be called.

    They will leave or be pushed out of the Euro by next month.

  13. a Hard default + the Turks = are now closer than ever. !!!

    The Greeks will be punished for their reaction through the ballot box. The NWO will make an example out of Greece.

    …coming soon to a neighbourhood near yours… :)

  14. “It is expected Tsipras will be unable to reach any agreement by Thursday,

    leading to PASOK taking over the mandate to form a government. After that, Papoulias will call in the party leaders to try to broker a deal.

    If that fails, a caretaker government will be appointed

    and new elections called (yeah, the next election date will be 2004ever…).”

  15. Steps 2-4, if only.

    ” No experience of running a government ” So what !!, they also have no experience of ruining a government. We sure as hell are not going to get any change with the usual bunch of crooks, if these guys lasted long enough to screw the Troika, convict Venizelos & a few other sleaze balls, & expose some of the bankers dirty dealing, it would be worth it in my opinion.

    Governments are being audited by outsiders, & yet banks get away with basically their own people ( EBA ) coming in & faking it, like Dexia last year which passed & then promptly went bust.

    All wishful thinking I know, but the Eurozone is like a big fat sagging balloon, someone needs to stick a pin in it, otherwise it will end up slowly smothering us all into a state of destitution, & through the fiscal pact strait-jacket, debt peonage & serfdom, basically in the interests of Germany & the banks.

      • @stevie I agree; anyone or anything that changes the game represents a chance for a rethink. It may be that Tsipras, if he manages to stand something up, is seen by history to have been naive and an ideologue, but getting rid of the executive bathroom traders in Gentlemensroom Slacks could be a new gift to the world from Greece.

  16. If Greece falls out of the euro and defaults it will be very hard for them, my view is that it will hurt them more than the Icelanders, who at least have abundant cheap local energy. In Greece, effectively the lights will go out, but like the Icelanders rebuilding can then start.
    Where this will affect the rest of us is the banking system, as you have been saying for some time JW. There are simply too many risks out there now. If it is not Greece, will it be Spanish housing/banks, Portugese debt, Irish banks (where the problems are far from resolved), UK housing/banks, Hungarian and Czech debt denominated in CHF…..the list goes on. It is like the penny falls arcade game, one more penny on the top may topple a cascade out of the bottom.

  17. I am sure there is at least one smart politician in Greece (maybe G-Pap ha-ha-ha) who could figure out how to form a coalition of the dissidents with a declared short lifespan and only a very few policies.
    These policies would include:
    -holding a referendum on the terms of the bailout
    -repeal of the MP immunity laws
    -removal of the 50-seat gift to the leading party
    -cancellation of all military orders (submarines and the like) to France & Germany
    -removal of the tax added to electricity bills
    -renouncing the Squid’s swap terms and asset-purchase deals
    once these are done, a new general election is triggered. You don’t need to have too much common ground between left and right to agree a few key actions.

  18. First and foremost , Greece needs to get past the idea that leaving the Eurozone is the end of the world. Despite dissatisfaction with both Pasok and New Democracy , recent polls show 60 percent of greeks still want to stay in the eurozone. What has that done for them , I mean really ? The first step to regaining control of national sovereignty begins with telling the Troika to go to hell , kick the EU out of the country , declare the debt slavery agreement null and void , return to the drachma and take the short term lumps – similar to Iceland , you will be on the road to recovery in 18 months ! Consider my blog piece – discussing in part a comparison of Iceland and Ireland. ( John’s great work also put out front as well .) Leaving the euro isn’t the end of the world fro Greece , it’s a first step to recovery. Fwiw !

    http://fredw-catharsisours.blogspot.com/2012/05/greece-election-lessons-first-congrats.html

    • good morning, the absence of a strong , ambitious & solid anti-Euro currency plan is what makes euro currency popular. Nobody from the political powers which propose national currency or are loose with Euro currency has ever come up with something concrete instead of nice ideas.
      It is true, greece has no chance under Euro currency.
      It is also true that from those proposing national currency nobody has put a certain plan on the table.
      When they do so people will drastically move.

  19. I tend to agree with the Tsipras-waiting-for-the-2nd-round theory. I’m living in a long-time PASOK stronghold, but SYRIZA came very close to beating them (with a lower than average abstention rate). People here have seen that PASOK/ND can be given a good hiding. If there’s a 2nd round, I can see Tsipras touring the country with his populist plan, and maybe toppling ND. Talking to people in the village, repealing the “politician’s immunity from prosecution” law is a winner. The fact that he has no experience will make no difference to the voters.

    Incidental thought – it appears to me that male voters see the “other” parties as thieves and criminals, female voters say they’re ALL “κλεφτές”, thieves.

    Για να δούμε – we’ll see

    • I think the audit and open publication of its findings are an excellent idea. There will be many who fear such visibility. A high proportion of the debt derives from arms sales (bribes) and corruption within Greece (old parties). I have no idea why the ordinary Greek should be expected to pay for debt incurred to fund what may be criminal activities. And finally someone is playing hardball with the EU commissars. His economic programme is economically illiterate but can hardly give the Greeks a worse future than the one they face. And the change in the law to prosecute politicians is genius.

      All of the this suggests he will fail and there will be a technocratic caretaker government installed, maybe backed by the Colonels.

      • “All of the this suggests he will fail and there will be a technocratic caretaker government installed, maybe backed by the Colonels.”

        Correct… Venizelos just announced he wont even try to forge a government when Tsipras fails later today… so that they can go to the preident who has the right to either form a new “Unity” government or call for elections again… they already proposed Stavros Dimas (ex Wall St., World Bank, and EU commiss.) as a “compromise” candidate… this has been the plan all along.

  20. Pingback: Noli Irritare Leones » “We have forced all of Europe to speak about the great change brought about by the Greek vote”

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