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Greece faces call to put off elections

EUROZONE finance ministers are considering a German demand for Greece to postpone its national election as a condition of another huge bailout.

According to diplomats close to the talks, ministers meeting in Brussels tonight to decide on a E130 billion ($159bn) loan package may require a delay to the Greek election due in April so the nation's unelected technocratic government can implement harsher austerity measures.

Germany's demand, which will strengthen Greek claims the rescue package is undemocratic, is being pressed by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and supported by The Netherlands, Finland and Italy, which, like Greece, is ruled by unelected technocrats.

Also, this just in from the FT: Greece must default if it wants democracy (by Wolfgang Münchau)
When Wolfgang Schäuble proposed that Greece should postpone its elections as a condition for further help, I knew that the game would soon be up. We are at the point where success is no longer compatible with democracy. The German finance minister wants to prevent a "wrong" democratic choice. Similar to this is the suggestion to let the elections go ahead, but to have a grand coalition irrespective of the outcome. The eurozone wants to impose its choice of government on Greece - the eurozone's first colony.

...

A senior German official has told me that his preference is to force Greece into an immediate default. I can therefore only make sense of Mr Schäuble's proposal to postpone elections as a targeted provocation intended to illicit an extreme reaction from Athens. If that was the goal, it seems to be working. Karolos Papoulias, the Greek president, fired back at Mr Schäuble's "insults". Evangelos Venizelos, finance minister, said certain elements wanted to push Greece out of the eurozone. Conspiracy theories abound. Hardly a day passes by without a cartoon in the Greek press of Angela Merkel and Mr Schäuble in Nazi uniforms. German MPs expressed outrage at the Greek outrage. Bild, the German mass-market daily, is calling for Greece to be "kicked out" of the eurozone. I shudder at the thought of an act of violence committed against Germans in Greece or Greeks in Germany. This is the kind of conflict that could easily escalate.

...

The German strategy seems to be to make life so unbearable that the Greeks themselves will want to leave the eurozone. Ms Merkel certainly does not want to be caught with a smoking gun in her hand. It is a strategy of assisted suicide, and one that is extremely dangerous and irresponsible.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 07:00:31 PM EST
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