Greece’s Elections: What Would The Rise Of Syriza Do To The European Union?

Greece’s financial crisis has now worn on for more than five years with little end in sight. Greeks, conscious of the way the government-debt crisis has weighed of their day-to-day life, will head to the polls for the country’s parliamentary election on Sunday in which left-wing party Syriza is expected to win, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Syriza’s victory could be bad news for the current prime minister Antonio Samaras, whose center-right New Democracy party has held the majority in Hellenic parliament since 2012’s Greek elections; but Syriza will most likely miss winning an absolute majority. It would then be forced to join forces with the center-left To Potami party or the nationalist Independent Greeks — both of which would affect how the government ends up negotiating its foreign debt when the time comes.

That conversation with Germany and the rest of the Eurozone will be a sticky one either way, as Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras promises to fight against the austerity waged against the country by other nations nervous about collecting on Greek debt, reported BBC News.

“On Monday, national humiliation will be over. We will finish with orders from abroad. We are asking for a first chance for Syriza. It might be the last chance for Greece.”

If Syriza proves victorious in the Greek elections, there will a huge divide between what Greece’s creditors and the ruling party want. Tsipras and the rest of his party are campaigning largely on the rejection of “market-oriented overhauls, privatizations, and deregulation measures that Germany and other creditors say are essential for restoring Greece’s economic competitiveness,” which could prove troublesome according to WSJ.

“Since 2010, keeping the bailout program on track has proved even harder than agreeing its terms. The current program relies on optimistic growth and fiscal forecasts. And Syriza has yet to prove it can run a government and implement difficult overhauls. If the program goes off track again, creditors will demand extra austerity and reforms, which could push a Syriza government to breaking point—as happened to the Samaras government this winter. If Syriza cracks under the pressure, another round of uncertainty and early elections will follow, perhaps returning conservative New Democracy to power.”

Of course, Greece is not the only flailing economy within the European Union. According to The Economist, the lessons of Greece may influence the actions of other countries staring down their own potential or current crises, and even who the people choose in their own elections. Greece may even make good on threats to leave the EU altogether.

“Investors seem to be betting that the people of Italy, Spain and France will peek at the chaos in Athens, shudder — and stick to the austerity that Germany’s Angela Merkel has prescribed for them.”

Another possible side effect of Greece’s elections would be the bolstering of anti-establishment parties across Europe despite diverse political leanings, notes The Huffington Post. Even Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party in France has voiced her support for Syriza.

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