La Razon recently published this article about the Greek elections and the tactics of Tsipras. EST Secretary Sietse Blom wrote a short piece in which he shares his view on the Greek leader and his expectations for the outcome of the elections.
Strategic games from Alexis Tsipras seemed a master move from a popular demagogue, but might now lead to his downfall.
Tsipras tries to be the prime minister of Greece again, what is different this time?
By calling for new elections Tsipras proves to be a true strategic. Where the last elections were about the Greeks choosing to accept the severe austerity demands of the Eurozone, this elections are merely used as a tool to secure power by Alexis Tsipras. He seeks to secure his position before the harshness of the cut backs are felt by the common Greek. Besides, on this short note it is much harder for his competitors to prepare for the elections and win votes from demagogue Tsipras. He also takes precautions before the disharmony in his own Syriza government reaches a burst. However, this is not the image Tsipras wants to show the world. His claim is that the Greeks should get the chance to vote on approving or disapproving the Syriza administration. His victory earlier this year is no longer valid in his view. When the Greeks wanted less austerity measures, Tsipras promised them to do so and failed. When his people said no to the new European bailout programme, after he advised them to, he still agreed on a immense cut back accord and new loans of 86 million. Nowadays Tsipras is still carried on hands by many, but his popularity seems to shrink. Securing a strong mandate to rule in this phase before the stark austerity measures are felt is an opportunistic but cunning move.
Who is the most important rival for Tsipras in the elections?
At first it seemed like Tsipras and the Syriza party had little to fear from the other parties in Greece. His massive support from the common Greek however, is now fading. The campaigning of the New Democracy party becomes more and more successful. Where it seemed a strategic master move from Tsipras at first, his followers are now in doubt about his intensions. It seems like the Greeks finally lose faith in a man who has not kept his promise to end austerity, did not listen to the referendum and who by resigning, thrusts his country back into political instability. In recent polls it is a neck-and-neck race between Evangelos Meimarakis and Alexis Tsipras, something Mr. Tsipras probably had not counted on. The winner of the coming elections is therefore far from certain, and with that the future of Greece.
Will the negotiations with Brussels be different if Tsipras wins again?
The agreement is set, and if Greece does not live up to its obligations the money-flow from other European countries will stop, as Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the Eurogroup and others pointed out several times. The other member states will not accept a change in the deal or the amount of repayments they demand of Greece. Tsipras said the elections were a means of showing whether the Syriza party could count on support for implementing their agreed accord. So should he again be elected as prime minister their position will not change. Meimarakis on the other hand is in favour of a broad coalition, possibly with Syriza, to implement the latest bailout programme. Either way, with a mandate for Tsipras or a broad coalition under Meimarakis, the European bills have to be paid.