News / Europe

Greece Ponders Second Election in 6 Weeks

Greece Ponders Second Election in 6 Weeks
Greece Ponders Second Election in 6 Weeks
Dominic Laurie
Greeks vote for a government for the second time in six weeks on Sunday. The last election, in May, gave no conclusive outcome. And tempers are rising as politicians from right and left fight for votes.
 
The sound of arguing is not a school classroom. It is a TV political debate just days before Greece’s election. 
 
Such things are supposed to be passionate but good-mannered. But Greece is in its fifth year of recession and there is anger in the air.
 
Six or so of the politicians are sitting round a table. Water gets thrown in someone’s face. The moderator tries to keep calm. But after trading insults with others, the spokesman of the far-right Golden Dawn party lunges at two left-wing guests, then slaps one from the Communist Party on the cheek. An arrest warrant is then sent out for the Golden Dawn spokesman.
 
The tension between right and left has also expressed itself in the streets. The far right is gaining ground, something that worries some protesters. The two parties that traditionally ruled Greece for almost 40 years have lost millions of votes. Many Greeks blame them for the mess the country is in. 
 
But the far left is gaining even more. 
 
Alexis Tsipras heads the radical left Syriza party. In a matter of months, he has gone from relative obscurity to leading many of the recent polls. He says the terms of Greece’s bailout are too painful for his country.
 
He says that if Greece’s bailout terms are not renegotiated, now that they are on a "knife edge," then catastrophe will be unavoidable. He says the "fire" will become unquenchable and will not be limited to Greece and the southern European countries.
 
The worst case scenario Tsipras talks about involves a forced return to the drachma. Greece thought it had left that currency behind forever more than 10 years ago. Vassilis Kapsis sits at home with his wife Nella. He says a return to the drachma would be a disaster.
 
It would mean less money in my pocket, he says, but also a price increase for goods. He says for people like him, with children, it will be a very difficult thing.
 
Greek expert Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos from Birkbeck College at the University of London, says that despite the rise of political extremes in Greece, one thing almost everyone can agree on is that they want to keep the euro.

“Absolutely, there is support for that view across all the main political parties. There are some fringe parties like [the] communists that explicitly say we want to withdraw from the euro. But this proposition has been comprehensively defeated both in May, and I think it will be defeated again on Sunday," he said. 
 
Dimitrakopoulos says another thing that unites the Greeks is that they do not want another election. Two in six weeks is enough. But opinion polls say there will be no clear winner. Another messy coalition appears to be the most likely option.

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson Grand Jury Reaches Decision

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid