Guest Viewpoints

Nothing Left for Tsipras Except for Phony Election Reform Hopes

If he hadn’t left such a trail of the wounded behind you could almost feel sorry for Greek Prime Minister Alexis “Che” Tsipras, the Marxist-Maoist-Stalinist-Lenininst-Sadist cafe philosopher who found himself in a position which Greek Communists never wanted, ruling a country that can’t be ruled.

After breaking essentially every anti-austerity promise he made to get elected, a ruse he thought was clever until his empire of lies buried him under the weight of its own deceit, Tsipras is left with trying to peddle election law reform as what he hopes will be the legacy of the Looney Left SYRIZA after the next elections when he’s tarred-and-feathered and sent home packing.

Except for the Nazi Crazies of Golden Dawn, who’ve been on trial more than a year on charges of running a criminal gang and one charged with the murder of an anti-fascist hip-hop artist, Tsipras met with the leaders of rival political parties trying to convince them to back his scheme to change the way Greek political parties are elected.

Tsipras had vacillated on what he wanted, first saying he wanted to scrap a 50-seat bonus in Parliament given the winners of elections, then thinking perhaps 30 would be better. But after objections from SYRIZA dissidents that he was leaning toward a reduced bonus he settled on direct proportional representation among other ideas.

Parties would get seats in Parliament based on what percentage of the vote they got as long as they could pass a 3 percent threshold – which his partner, the far-right, pro-austerity, in need of a checkup-from-the-neck-up jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) aren’t meeting so he’s willing to jettison them like yesterday’s news.

The 50-seat bonus generally gave election winners enough of the vote to control Parliament but Tsipras’ party got only 144 out of 300 seats in last year’s elections and needed to bring in the nine votes of ANEL.

The real intent of the proposal, for which he needs 200 votes in Parliament to get approved, is to distract attention from cataclysmic failure and leave something behind when he’s ousted besides the trail of the slug he is.

He’d also like, of course, to sabotage the election’s next winners, the former ruling New Democracy Conservatives whose leaders – first, Antonis Samaras who was Premier, and now Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who wants to be.

Without the 50-seat bonus, Mitsotakis has no chance of ruling outright and will need to bring in coalition partners, the permanent fate of politics now in Greece where the landscape is so fractured and where people hate politicians so much, that the days of New Democracy or its former partner and otherwise rival, the PASOK Anti-Socialists, having dominance is over, election reform law change or not.

Among those Tsipras met was Dimitris Koutsoumpas, leader of Greece’s irrelevant, tiny KKE Communists who are almost as zealous as he is in attacking the symbols of Capitalism but, unlike him, would actually try to do what they say if they ever won, which they never will.

Koutsoumpas later reportedly said Tsipras told him there was no way he could keep promises to restore pay and pension benefits, stop worker firings (apart from hiring his friends as “Special Advisors” at 2,000 euros a month to think Leftist thoughts), restore the minimum wage and collective bargaining rights.

Tsipras, the inveterate liar he is, denied any of that which means it was all true but didn’t deny reports he told Koutsoumpas he wants the election reform law changes – including lowering the voting age to 17 and letting disenfranchised Greeks abroad have the right to vote.

This would all just be inside baseball if it didn’t matter so much because changing the election laws is a big deal and will affect the makeup of the undemocratic Greek Parliament and the country’s rulers for decades, and if Tsipras is successful, means a permanently broken system.

The irony is that the number of seats a party gets in Parliament should be determined on the basis of what percent of the vote it gets, not a big bonus for winning, but that it would mean the circus would become flat-out chaos and coalitions of several rival parties being forced to work together: a horse that became a camel after being put together by a committee.

Tsipras thinks he cleverly folded in ideas such as lowering the vote age and rights for Greeks abroad but those will be lost in the political infighting over the plan to eliminate the bonus which Mitsotakis is fighting ferociously, seeing it for the deception it is.

With the marginalized, centrist To Potami first said to be leaning toward voting for the Tsipras plan, and PASOK on the wire, Mitsotakis is trying to stop any momentum for building and warned other parties that if they join the “alliance of the willing” they will be held responsible if the economy continues to implode.

To Potami then rejected any idea it would back Tsipras, as have other parties apart from the once-dominant PASOK, now drift and dying under leader Fofi Gennimata who hasn’t ruled out giving Tsipras her 16 votes.

Not enough, and with PASOK already extinct and running under the banner of Democratic Alignment after being joined by the squashed Democratic Left, it won’t be long before Tsipras and SYRIZA join them in a glorious disappearance. Let’s vote on it.



March 25th is a special – and sacred – day for Greek Orthodox people around the world.

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