Greek Elections

Article by: Joseph Hadaway

Photograph compiled by: Ji Young Kim

On January 25, 2015, the Greek parliamentary elections took place, which set the far left “Syriza” party against the center right “New Democracy” party. The “Syriza” party won handily, with most pundits crediting their win due to their harsh anti-austerity stance. Austerity, or policies aimed at reducing a government’s borrowing, has been very unpopular in Greece since they were introduced in 2010, leading to mass protests.

These austerity measures began as part with the former Greek government’s deal with the Eurozone countries, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to receive a 110 Billion Euro (5.5 Trillion Peso) loan to cover their spending needs from May 2010 to June 2013. However, a year later, due to a delayed response by the government and failure to implement the terms of the previous loan led to a second bailout loan being needed by the Greek government worth over 130 Billion Euros to last until December 2014 (6.5 Trillion Pesos).

Despite receiving over 250 Billion Euros in between both bailouts, the Greek debt and unemployment issues continued, with austerity measures only increasing the discontent amongst the Greek populace. This led to last weekend’s snap parliamentary elections being called.

Upon the election of the communist-leaning Syriza party, German government spokesperson Steffan Seibert made a statement claiming that “it is very important for Greece to take measures so that the economic recovery continues”. This statement comes amid fears that Greece may leave the Euro in an attempt to cut their losses, potentially costing the other Eurozone countries. However, the incoming Minister of Finance attempted to dispel those fears by saying “if it is within my power to determine…Greece will neither want to leave the Eurozone or threaten to do so. We should not have entered the Euro – this is crystal clear, but once in, it is disastrous to remove ones-self from the Eurozone voluntarily.

This new election of the Syriza party can have many different effects on the future of the Eurozone and the EU in general, many of which unclear.