Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 07:18:19 AM EST
Today, as apparently half the world knows already, parliamentary elections are being held in Greece. This is the second such elections in a period of 40 days, after the results of the elections held on the 6th of May proved impossible to produce a working government alliance.
Again as most of the world knows by now, the two main rivals in these elections are the conservative New Democracy party and SYRIZA, the party of the Greek radical left which was the surprise winner of the May 6th vote that saw it propelled from 4,5% to 16,5% and second place ahead of the discredited socialists of PASOK. SYRIZA is a party that promises to renounce austerity and as such causes some form of disquiet across the ruling elites world-wide.
So it seems that the world's media have descended en masse in Athens and around Greece (the BBC's excellent Paul Mason has been climbing mountains and talking to cattle-ranchers) to an impressive extent. When Tsipras voted a few hours ago in a down-town polling center the whole area was innundated by international reporters and their crews
The Guardian has live coverage of events and is reliable. Athens News will be covering here election results as they become known.
Official results in English can be found at the Greek Ministry of Interior...
front-paged by afew
The latest polls (unpublished, leaked etc since there is a ban on publishing polls 15 days before the elections) seem to indicate that the race will be tight with a slight advantage to the Right. The electoral campaign was a mud-fest by ND, stooping to unprecedented lows to terrorize the population of the results of a potential SYRIZA victory. Reports say that outside of the big city centers and among the people who still have something to lose this scare tactic might have worked and has contained the SYRIZA vote. PASOK seems to be suffering losses. The Nazis seem to be holding on to their vote.
I note that Antonis Samaras has ran on a platform of xenophobia and law & order that would have embarrassed Marine Le Pen. He not only incorporated most cadres of the far-right LAOS party but has immersed himself in nationalist rhetoric and has used cold-war anti-communism to rally the ultra-right. At the same time it has included a large part of the neoliberals (notably Dora Bakoyianni who dissolved her party Dimikratiki Symmahia - at slightly under 3% in the previous elections) to rejoin the party she was disparaging until a few weeks ago.
There was also a wall of media aggressiveness against SYRIZA, almost comic in its uniformity. So that all during the past month almost everyone (politicians and journalists) was ganging up against the SYRIZA representative in TV talk-show panels.
Anyway: The elections are up for grabs. Remember that whoever wins even by a single vote, gets a 50 seat bonus (in a 300 seat parliament). I estimate that if a party reaches somewhere between 35-40% they will have an outright majority, though this is unlikely either way.
I'll be running around Athens most of the day, and away from my PC after 4 or 5 pm local time. But I will return later and I will try to see if I can find a way to keep in touch during the day...