Monday, September 10, 2007

More Grand Coalitiae

I have piece up at EU Reporter about this weekend's elections in Greece,

The Spectre of Co-habitation haunts Greek Elections

Something new seems about to arise on the Greek political scene. Described in the Greek press as the "Merkel Compromise" a 'grand coalition' is becoming increasingly likely before polling takes place on Sunday.

Currently the governing centre right Nea Democratia (ND) party are thought to be leading the socialist PASOK, but have taken a big popularity hit as they are being blamed by electors for the disastrous response to the recent forest fires.

As the publication of opinion polls are banned in Greece for two weeks before the election, certainty is impossible, but leaks from private polling done by the parties suggest a narrowing of the gap. On one hand however the Prime Minister is loudly denying that a coalition is possible; Karamanlis saying, "It is a truth that forming a coalition is out of the question, If we don't win a working majority, there'll be new elections." but senior figures in his administration are muttering about the need to concentrate power. There is no certainty that ND would do better if further elections were held.

Supporting this thesis is a gradual move towards a common platform, with both major parties agreeing on the essentials of Foreign policy (Turkey/Cyprus) and European affairs, both are committed to the new European Constitutional Treaty and macro-economics. Whilst differences still exist they are minor in comparison to the areas of agreement.

Of course such government would be a good thing as it would allow the major parties to share power ushering in a level of stability that has been rare in Greek politics. The growing electoral threat of smaller parties is highlighted in UK newspaper the Guardian, "Opinion polls have pointed to smaller political groups emerging as power brokers - not least the far-right Popular Orthodox Alarm (LAOS) - fuelling fears the ballot could lead to political deadlock".

If the big two do not hang together they will surely hang apart.

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