This week we discuss the garbage that is the Greek elections, oh boy this electoral system is a hot mess. In our “No Elections Left Behind” section!

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Show Notes

No Elections Left Behind

2019 Greek legislative election

Why pick one electoral system when you could do them all at once?

So… there’s 300 seats that go in this order:

  • 3% national vote requirement to win seats and used to calculate who gets leftover seats
  • 12 are national single constituency using PR
  • There are 7 first past the post seats… (because they’re small population constituencies)
  • 231 are multi-member constituencies using PR
  • 50 go to the largest party (explains Syriza’s large drop)

They passed a law in 2016 to get rid of the majority seat bonus but it won’t come into effect until the next election because Syriza didn’t have the votes (they needed a super-majority).

Did someone win?

Yes… because of the 50 bonus seats New Democracy have a majority of 8 seats and don’t need a coalition

New who?

“Democracy” apparently

Turnout has a big effect on this.. it’s complicated because it’s been said that although there’s mandatory voting the quality of the electoral rolls makes that basically impossible to enforce in any way and apparently turnout was only 57.9%

This has created the interesting outcome where ND actually received more votes in the last election they did will in (2009 when turnout was 70%) and they didn’t even win that election!

This result is the support Syriza had when they formed their first coalition government.

They were still about 8 points in the lead so apparently it’s a landslide —-

They have a record of changing the electoral law to be less proportional… so the changes to get rid of the

General takes:

  • Yeah because lowering taxes and being difficult with your neighbours is a cool plan which is only achievable at all because of the bailout exit

“After a decade of crisis, Greek politics are turning normal and boring”

In that they’re becoming what they used to be… not in a boring way, in a worrying way where people have forgotten why the country needed a bailout in the first place

An inspection of the new government’s cast and programme shows that they are aiming for a Latvian solution to our permanent Great Depression: dealing with under-employment via the emigration of even more young people; subjecting the remaining workers to medieval terms and conditions; devastating small businesses whose market share will be taken over by troika-supported multinational oligopolies; using the banking system to launder dark money; surrendering public assets and the property of indebted households to assorted vultures; and leaving the state too impoverished to look after the weak but ever so generous to the strong.

Self-loathing is a form of propaganda perfected by the New Democracy party as the representative of the Greek elite, but used extensively by many, including the country’s media. It consists of a number of stereotypes perpetuated within Greece and beyond it, that describe an uncultured, uneducated, work-shy, corrupt Greek people that deserves austerity and is to blame for the rightful subjugation of our sovereignty to the enlightened rule of western Europe. This rhetoric, although never explicit, has served to create a Greek mentality that places ‘Europe’ as a culture separate and superior to our own, and one towards which we should aspire, despite our ‘natural’ shortcomings.

The party has been elected vowing to “kick start” the economy, with Mr Mitsotakis telling news agency AFP growth would be boosted “by private investments, exports and innovation”.

New Democracy has also promised to lower taxes and privatise services in the country. Mr Mitsotakis has argued for cutting corporation tax and pledged to reduce youth unemployment - which has averaged 30% for more than 20 years.”

Syriza no bueno?

The great success of the Brussels establishment was to convince Greeks that democracy cannot be allowed to affect economic decisions. The “Schäuble Doctrine” if you like.

Syriza sold the railways for €43 million; I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and worked out they’d have got more money tearing up the rails and selling them as scrap metal. Or take gambling — Syriza enabled the deployment of thirty-five thousand poker machines by a private company, exploiting a bankrupt people with the fake promise of easy winnings.

The Tsipras government has undertaken drastic cuts in public spending, furthered deregulation, and extended privatization as well as squeezing wages, pensions, and social benefits. It has especially reduced public investment, while raising indirect and direct taxation to unprecedented levels, ruthlessly hitting low- and middle-income households.

Most notable in recent months is the way in which pressure on the Greek banks has driven a rise in evictions and home foreclosures. If once Syriza itself raised the slogan “no homes in the hands of banks,” today it is cracking down on protestors trying to stop the auctioning of houses. New laws threaten prison for those who interfere with the auction process — in fact, arrests of the government’s critics have already begun.

But confronted by the pressures generated by its own bailout, the Tsipras government has passed legislation to punish any action that aims at preventing auctions of foreclosed properties, with penalties varying from three to six months in prison.