From Rock Star to Flop: Varoufakis Says Greece Turning Hard Right

ATHENS – He was riding high on his motorcycle in 2015 when he was the finance chief for a SYRIZA government, compared to a Die-Hard era Bruce Willis and called a rock star but Greeks won’t have Yanis Varoufakis to kick around anymore.

The defiant far-leftist, ousted from SYRIZA when he refused to go along with them-Premier Alexis Tsipras’ surrender to the country’s lenders in imposing austerity to get a third bailout, of 86 billion euros ($92.22 billion) formed the MeRA25 party that won only 9 seats in Parliament before defections.

Now it has none.

Varoufakis’ tiny party got only 2.59 percent of the vote in the first round May 21 elections, short of the 3 percent threshold needed to get back into Parliament, blaming SYRIZA for refusing to collaborate on a campaign.

“Clearly, we have a lot of soul-searching to do – but only after the next election is over and done with and we have fought the good fight to make amends for … failure,” he said on the party’s website.


But he also hinted he’s not yet ready to ride off into the sunset or join a long line of forgotten fringe parties that faded away in Greece’s volatile and often fractured political landscape.

“MeRA25 lives to fight another day,” he said without clarifying whether that meant he would try again the next time general elections are held after failing to qualify for a second round on June 25.

The former ruling New Democracy, which stepped down for a caretaker government ahead of the next ballot, drubbed SYRIZA by a 2-1 margin in the first round and is heavily favored to retain single-party rule.

“Bruised by an election outcome at odds not only with all opinion polls (which predicted we would be gaining between 50% and 80% more votes than in 2019) but also with the enthusiasm we encountered everywhere we went (e.g., with the large crowds that came to our rallies), we are dusting ourselves off and readying to go out there to campaign once more,” he said. But when?

He said MeRA25 as well as SYRIZA and the PASOK-KINAL Movement for Change which finished third didn’t register with voters because of a blue wave of support for then-Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ rabid rightist stance.

That decision had resulted “in this unbelievable tsunami of conservatism,” the MeRA25 leader said, going so far as to compare it to the near-dictatorial policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, favored to win re-election.

Varoufakis noted how nothing dented Mitsotakis with the economy recovering and tourists coming in droves as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes: not a surveillance scandal nor a train wreck that killed 57, many college students.

“Like Erdogan, deploying cleverly a combination of ultra-nationalism, social conservatism, a pro-Big Business agenda, a network of patronage and huge doses of authoritarianism, Mitsotakis managed to reproduce his electoral and discursive hegemony,” said Varoufakis in the language that didn’t persuade voters.

“MeRA25 seems to have suffered because we tried to inspire our base with hard-hitting truths and a call to arms, rather than soothing narratives falsely claiming that we could costlessly turn things around for the many,” he said.

But he acknowledged that voters bought Mitsotakis’ vision of growth and looking ahead not back and that, “They are tired of bad news; they are tired of struggles, battles and war cries.”

He added: “This is the mountain MeRA25 must now climb: How to persuade bad-news-averse marginal voters to vote for us again without plying them with soothing lies,” hoping he’ll ride back in again, even if not on a motorcycle.


THESSALONIKI - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis paid a visit to the Floating Naval Museum of Destroyer 'Velos' in Thessaloniki, during his tour of the city on Monday.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream usually draws customers with gourmet takes on classics like vanilla and pistachio.

SYDNEY  — The Australian and New Zealand governments announced Tuesday they were sending planes to evacuate their nationals from violence-scorched New Caledonia.

WASHINGTON  — President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee said Monday that they raised more than $51 million in April, falling well short of the $76 million that Donald Trump and the Republican Party reported taking in for the month.

PHILADELPHIA - Pro-Palestinian protesters ignored a request by Drexel University's president to disband their encampment on Monday as arrests linked to campus demonstrations against the Israel-Hamas war surpassed the 3,000 mark nationwide.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.