With only a few days left until Greeks head to the polls, the latest public polls (but also the reserved equivalents, which cannot be published in the two weeks leading up to the vote) have led many analysts to predict a new split vote, with no party able to govern alone. The left-wing coalition Syriza, which wants to consign the memorandum to the dustbin, and the centre-right party New Democracy, which supports it but wants to see it softened, are going head to head, at around or just under 30%. A coalition therefore seems the only way forward for any party, but given the climate of vitriol in this second election campaign, any deal between parties is at risk of lasting only a few months at most, and could fail to produce a government capable of dragging the country out of the mess in which it finds itself. Such events, of course, would not only have devastating consequences for Greece but for the whole of the eurozone. If the victors on June 17 fail to represent the conditions of the memorandym signed between Athens and the "troika" (EU, IMF and BCE), the European Union and the International Monetary Fund could block one or more tranches of the massive 173 billion euro loan that Greece desperately needs. The state machine has enough money to function only for a few more weeks and could find itself penniless at the start of July. Many say that this would herald the country's de facto exit from the single currency, bringing unpredictable consequences for the eurozone.
The vote of May 6, from which no majority and government emerged, has meant a further month of paralysis in Greece's reform and development programme, which is already severely delayed, from privatisations to the fight against tax evasion. The conditions of the memorandum dictate that by June 30 the Greek Parliament must implement cuts of a further 11 billion euros to public spending. The winner or winners on June 17 will have to do everything in a rush if they do not want to lose the aid. Any renegotiation of the "funds in exchange for austerity" agreement could run out of time, and the freeze on the loan could come into force at the start of July, with dramatic consequences for public finances and potentially explosive social tensions. Meanwhile, the leader of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, said today that the conditions in Europe, with aid from Spain, make it possible to change some parts of the memorandum.
Greek electoral law assigns 50 bonus seats to the majority party. If ND were to win, it would probably do so only with enough votes to form a weak coalition with the Socialist party Pasok (in freefall in the polls), if the latter manages to finish in third place. If Syriza emerges victorious, the natural ally appears to be the small party Democratic Left. In this case, too, the majority would be very slender.
Evangelos Venizelos, the experienced socialist leader, has already called for a great coalition after the vote, claiming that any other smaller alliance "will only ensure that the absence of the government continues". The June 17 vote, which many consider to be a referendum on Greece's stay in the eurozone, could fail to provide a clear answer, which could be the worst outcome. (ANSAmed).