Left Turn in Greece

While 70% of Greeks want to stay in the EU (why not, the Euro props up what would otherwise be a near-worthless drachma), it seems not many of them want to endure the necessary austerity measures to bring down their astronomical debt-to-GDP ratio. After a few years of modest austerity measures, nationalist sentiments have swung dramatically to the Left:

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the hard-Left Syriza party, says that Greece is being compelled to suffer “fiscal waterboarding”. At a rally last week, he declared that it was “time for the people, not foreign interests, to decide Greece’s future”.

All the evidence shows that the message of this 40-year-old populist is striking home. Every opinion poll for the past two months has put Syriza in first place with a consistent lead of between three and five percentage points. The latest survey showed the party widening its advantage, reaching 34.5 per cent compared with 29 per cent for New Democracy…

Tsipras wants to erase most of Greece’s debt to the other EU countries (translation: the northern EU countries, mainly Germany) and a restructuring of trace amounts of debt to levels that won’t change the laid-back, Greek lifestyle.

So all the conditions are in place for a clash between a new prime minister from the radical Left, pledged to liberate his country from austerity, and the dour moneylenders of Europe and the IMF, who feel they have already been too lenient.

Will the EU blink?  Will Greece be kicked off the Euro? Is the EU one step closer to its implosion as a governing entity?

In the case of Greece, such is the downward spiral for a country where there is a public sector job for every two private sector jobs.

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