Greeks are facing fresh political turmoil after this weekend's elections saw mainstream parties suffer considerable losses. The financial crisis has long stretched to the political sphere, writes DW's Spiros Moskovou.
According to preliminary results, the new Greek parliament consists of seven parties, among them - for the first time - the neo-Nazi group 'Golden Dawn.' Both mainstream pro-Europe parties, Antonis Samaras' conservative Nea Dimokratia and the socialist PASOK of former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, have suffered massive losses, which will make it very difficult to form a stable government.
Under considerable pressure from international partners and donors and only very reluctantly did PASOK and Nea Dimokratia agree to form a coalition government under independent banker Loukas Papademos in November 2011. The aim of the government was to lay the foundation for austerity and structural reform in Greece and to pave the way to implement both. Both sides agreed very early on that the sole aim of the interim government under Loukas Papademos was to lead the bankrupt country to early new elections as quickly as possible. Now that these elections have taken place, both parties are actually willing to form a government, but now they are lacking the necessary seats in parliament.
Resistance to austerity
One thing is certain: Antonis Samaras will get the mandate to form a government. The second strongest party, radical left-wing Syriza under rabble-rouser Alexis Tsipras, will not be part of it because its strategy to pull in votes was to call for the immediate cancellation of all contracts with the country's international donors. Antonis Samaras therefore has to form a government with PASOK and a smaller party, which is probably going to be the moderate left. But even if he is successful, the new government would immediately be confronted with strong resistance against the necessary austerity measures - both in parliament and in Greek society.
It's a tough reality and yet it seems only logical that the "forced marriage" between the two formerly biggest parties in Greece failed in the course of the past few months. After all, they were the ones responsible for driving the country into ruin in the first place. Instead of seizing the opportunity to initiate national consensus, which is needed so badly, both sides kept hinting that only a fresh mandate would be a good prerequisite to solve all problems. Nea Dimokratia even upheld hopes that there was the option of renegotiating contracts with donors. Understandably, many voters instead went straight for those parties which stirred the more radical hope of cancelling all obligations that Athens agreed to in the past two years.
The situation in Athens is getting increasingly difficult and complex. Forming a government has again become a true nail-biter, and this situation brings with it enormous risks for political stability in the country. At the same time, the effect of rigid austerity which is still not paralleled by a policy of growth is increasingly taking its toll on large parts of society. That's why more and more Greeks have lost their belief in politics altogether. Abstention at this election was at some 35 percent.
Author: Spiros Moskovou / nh
Editor: Gabriel Borrud