Sunday 7 July 2019

Who to vote for?

Who to vote for in the Greek elections? That's been the issue that's been preoccupying me in the last week or so. This is not a problem I've ever had before as I've always been very clear on who to vote for.  But, this is different, this is an anomaly and I know that a vast majority of the Greek electorate feel the same.

Two parties dominate these elections and I cannot vote for either of them. I have never voted for the Right, in this case New Democracy, and do not intend to start doing so now. The alternative is Syriza, who in January 2015, won an election with an anti-austerity agenda and the promise of a new era for Greek politics. Once in power, they betrayed their supporters and the Greek people by: ignoring the referendum that they themselves called, where 61% of Greek people voted against the bailouts of the Troika and instead, Syriza signed a capitulation agreement a week later; showing a greater zeal in implementing the neoliberal programme of the Troika than any of their conservative predecessors, a deal that has included imposing austerity until 2060 and revenue from privatisations going to an international fund until 2114 - the repercussions for the lives of Greek people have been catastrophic; cultivating warm relations with leaders like Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and the rulers of Saudi Arabia.

Yet, Tsipras and his party continue to claim that they are a party of the Left. The trauma that this hypocrisy, this betrayal have created goes beyond the damage to the economy and to the lives of ordinary Greeks - they have destroyed the Left for many years to come and have brought us to a situation today where the electorate are going to vote for a party of the Right, not because they want to, but because they feel, rightly, the need to punish these liars and cheats. Syriza are finished, but the damage to the Left will continue for a long time to come.

Given that I cannot vote for the Right, and I cannot vote for a wolf in sheep's clothing, this has been a very difficult decision, as the alternatives have such little support that there does not seem any point in voting for them.

Looming over all this is the shadow of Golden Dawn, who, despite the fact that they do not have the support they had a few years ago, are still players in Greek politics. We came upon one of their parliamentary candidates the other evening as we were sitting in our local having pre-dinner ouzos. She went from table to table giving people her card. I saw red. Called her over, ripped her card and asked her to take it back. She was not pleased, to say the least, and wanted to have an argument but I kept telling her to go away. I was not prepared to engage with a fascist.

This is one of the best anti-fascist posters I have seen this time around. It says: Our grandparents did not vote for the fascists - they shot them.

So, this morning, I went to vote. Great turnout. If you look in the photograph above, the queue of cars extends all the way into the distance, in this normally very quiet street.


Everyone was out, voting, despite the heatwave that hit us three days ago and is going to continue until the end of next week.

I still had no idea who I was going to vote for. I took all the voting papers, went into the voting booth, eliminated lots, and then decided to follow my heart: my vote is not going to make any difference, but this was the best I could do in this situation.

What is interesting is that a friend who we met on the way back said the same thing, he had no idea who he was going to vote for, but would wait for inspiration when he got inside the voting booth. We are seeing him on Thursday and then we can compare notes.


  1. I've always thought it a shame that writing NONE OF THE ABOVE is not a legitimate counted vote, with consequences.

    1. This was one of the things we discussed in the pre-elections days, Olga. But, unfortunately, it's not.

      The results were very predictable, with maybe Syriza doing slightly better than expected. Excellent result for Golden Dawn, though, very pleased about that. Now, years of New Democracy and no real opposition. Grim.