CRITICAL LOCAL ELECTIONS TO BE HELD IN GREECE ON SUNDAY
Will the electorate knock out Samaras with a “left blow”?The second round of local elections in Greece is to be held on Sunday, 25th of May. Among those candidates who did not get 51 per cent of the vote in the first round held a week ago, the most successful will get to participate in the second round. The Greek electorate will also vote for elections to the European Parliament. Greece holds 22 seats out of 766 in the European Parliament.Before the vote on Sunday, the Greek voters seem to be in a mixed mood. The years of crisis as well as the problems which ensued have shown that neither Athens, nor Brussels cares at all for the opinion of the Greek electorate. The voters still keep alive the hope that they will get a say in some affairs in the country, at least at the level of local administration. It is therefore expected that the Radical Left Alliance (SYRIZA) which has objected to the methods employed against the crisis and therefore to the government and the EU will hold celebrations for a major victory on Sunday evening. SYRIZA, which is a rising star in Greek politics, has been largely successful in its attempts to turn both elections into referenda against the government’s tough savings measures and the European aid deals. Prime Minister Andonis Samaras who came to power two years ago and has tried to pull the country out of its debt crisis may find that things get more difficult after Sunday. For although the impact of the crisis may have lessened, the reactions against the measures employed are going strong. On Sunday the Greek voters may affect the political and economic orientation of their country when voting in the second round of the local elections and the European Parliament. It will not come as a surprise to see the Samaras government become rapidly weathered during the summer months. It is perhaps for this reason that the governing coalition in Greece has been bringing up the issue of mosque construction in Athens, to make society stray from its real agenda. Unless there is a great surprise, Samaras will spend the rest of the year following the elections trying to persuade foreign investors to stay in the country. The rise in social reaction will undoubtedly affect the markets and foreign investors will want to exit Greece once more. Samaras’ greatest fear may be that all the gains made so far in the fight against the crisis in Greece will be wiped off the slate on the day of the election.