Africa, Arab Spring, austerity measures, coalition government, EU, European Central Bank, European Commission, France, Francois Hollande, Golden Dawn, Greece, IMF, Lucas Papademos, Occupy Movement, Socialist Party, troika
SitRep: Is there a civil war in Greece’s near future?
Elections held on Sunday, May 6th in Greece left the country with a splintered group of political parties vying for control of the parliament. Voter anger gave seats to parties on both of the extreme ends of the political spectrum, including for the first time, the ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn. These further-leaning parties gained seats at the expense of the previous coalition government parties who accepted EU austerity measures and allowed Lucas Papademos, a former EU banker who was not democratically elected, to be appointed prime minister in a constitutionally questionable manner. With parliamentary seats spread across seven parties and no party with a clear majority, a coalition government must be formed. If the economic situation in Greece was normal, the creation of a coalition government would not be a challenge beyond the typical political jockeying that takes place in such a procedure. The economic situation in Greece is anything but normal however, and the EU-mandated austerity measures that caused people to vote in new leadership are thwarting any efforts to form a coalition as well. As this week is bearing out, there is no chance a coalition government will be formed in Greece and so the people will go back to the voting booth to try again.
The anger Greek voters took with them to the polls on Sunday will not have ebbed by the next round of voting, so it is likely that the Greek people will continue to vote for those parties on the ends of the political spectrum offering relief from austerity measures which will only exacerbate the failure of subsequent attempts to form a coalition government. The inability of Greek political parties to get their own house in order will cause both Greek citizens as well as those countries with a vested economic interest in Greece to begin to look for other solutions to install a stable government.
My coup d’oeil of the situation in Greece is this: A new election will be called. In light of France’s recent election of Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande and the growing wariness of Golden Dawn’s post-election behavior, more Greek voters will swing to the left. If Golden Dawn loses its toehold on political legitimacy by losing seats in the next round of voting, I believe we will see its members fomenting violence against the left. Such violence has the potential to spark a civil war which foreign governments and corporations will exploit as they look for opportunities to back a crony government (think Africa and the Arab Spring) and gain access to infrastructure and resources within a country. I see Golden Dawn having no qualms with accepting outside support in its efforts to gain control of Greece as they will take an ‘ends justify the means’ mentality to such outsider assistance.