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Inaki Irazabalbeitia

Former MEP, Aralar

Views on the outcome of Greek elections from Spain

Sep 30, 2015

Some greek friends asked to write a comment on the outcome of Greek elections and how are they analyse in Spain. Here bellow.

There are two main visions on the results of the last Greek elections and the picture of Greek society they give.

Center and right wings analysts remark both the change made by Syriza and Tsipras in the last mounts and the defeat of ‘radical’ forces talking about UP. One of analyst of El País newspaper praises Tsipras change and wrote textually: “Tsipras comes to the list of politicians capable of rectifying and betraying his own ranks, the list of authentic leaders that domesticate majorities.”

Some others remark the lessons that Tsipras gave to the European left in terms of rationality and realism:

“Of course, many other lessons are directed to its own platform leftist sympathizers euro-critics, inside or outside its country. Tsipras, for example, has learned after a few European Councils that the EU can not be changed abruptly and unilaterally; much less from a country so weakened as his. Now, he has clear that allies should be sought (in Brussels, Paris and Rome but also in Madrid or Lisbon and, of course, Berlin or Frankfurt) for molding gradually an economic policy where austerity is not, thankfully, the only ingredient. And that belief has been rewarded with the surprising fact that, it has been him and not the leader of the pro-European conservative opposition who won the elections this time.

But above that wisdom gained about European integration work, Tsipras teaches that we must have much respect to the precipice and it isn’t true that citizens have nothing more to lose after many years of suffering.”

The main Spanish left supports Tsipras. Although Podemos didn’t have any official reaction to the results the elections (no comments at its website), the support of the main sector of Podemos to Tsipras is clear. Iglesias went to Athens to the last big rally.

United Left coordinator, Cayo Lara, made a press conference on the results. Here the main ideas he stated:

-       "Greek people said that the crisis and the memorandum must be managed from the left"

-       "the only government that has resisted the offensive of the troika and creditors," since they achieved to win again

He expected that the results of Syriza will help Spanish left in next December general elections.

The new positioning of Spanish socialist towards Syriza is remarcable. Some months ago they strongly critisized Syriza, as other European socialists did, calling them radical or naïve. But, after last elections PSOE tries to capitalize the winning of Syriza. Iratxe Garcia member of the Federal Board welcomed the victory of Syriza and stated:

-       “Citizens have said that they don’t want experiments, that they don’t want radicalism. That is what now the new Syriza representes.”

-       " Syriza is not now what it was eight months ago"

Podemos is not monolitic and one of its fraktions called Anticapitalist Left critizises Syriza and supports UP. Some of its elected menbers went to Athens to support OP’s camapign. Here a statement before the elections:

“In only eight months Syriza has gone form fighting austerity to managing it the "best possible", delaying if not abandoning the perspective of the program for which it was elected last January. Therefore. Syriza no longer represents the desire for change of the popular classes. It is clear that in recent months anti-austerity forces have suffered political defeats, we must draw lessons and prepare better for the next match but under no circumstances can be accomplices of the planned organization to resignation.“

Other small left movements, like La Aurora, have similar visions:

“Tsipras received a tragic mandate: to accept the submission to the Troika, but maintaining the illusion of strength.

But neitherTsipras nor Syriza won’t be able to maintain the illusion of resistence. There will be necessary to rebuild the social movements in order to resist the  antisocial effects of third memorandum voted for Syriza. That resistence will be the oven to rebuilt the new Greek left. They will have our solidarity.”

The comment I transcribe bellow could be a good example of the mood of Spanish public oppinion.

“Along this path both PU and its project to leave the eurozone failed. That can only surprise those who denied the reality. The Government of Syriza never had a popular mandate to leave the eurozone. It didn’t raise the referendum in those terms, and therefore the overwhelming result of the query could not be interpreted as a call to flee from the EU, despite all the economic hardships endured by order of Brussels.

Outside Greece, for example in Spain, the signature of the third rescue was interpreted by many as a betrayal. Of course it was not a decision that will benefit Greece and Syriza that wasn’t what Syriza had promised before winning January elections. There was the question of how electors would respond to this disappointment. We know it already. No matter how angry or discouraged they are, they prefer that Syriza will govern the country for the next four years to do so New Democracy or Pasok. Liberal commentators who thought they were witnessing the end of Syriza and Greece becoming a 'normal' country in the eyes of Brussels were disappointed.

In times of national emergency, electorates tend to trust, sometimes in excess, leaders before the parties. Tsipras had become the only national leader by default of the rest, and in that sense the outcome of Sunday's election is not so surprising.”