Saturday, August 29, 2015

Polls Attempt To Start Election Fever

The election campaign is on and the first polls are out. Still, it doesn't feel like there is an election fever around; not yet, at least.

I have come across a rather interesting analysis by Dean Plassaras, a commentator with whom I hardly ever agree but who is making a rather convincing case below: 

"There used to be a time that a Greek political party would take over governance via elections for roughly a 2-4 year period and then pass on the mess created as a liability for the next (successor) party. This for years was the political ping-pong played between ND and Pasok as we knew it in Greek politics.

This is no longer the case because of the Troika or Quadriga's presence. In essence (and despite the deep injustice of the whole set up) the government which will take over Greece in 2-4 years from now is guaranteed to have a much better managed economy and a platform to claim future success. Therefore the old model of passing along your mess and poison the well for the successor party does not exist in Greek politics anymore (for as long as Quadriga's supervision of Greece is on - which for purposes of this analysis let's assume it will be for a long time).

The upside of this new Greek political reality is that, at tremendous social and political cost, a sort of financial equilibrium has been achieved. The downside of this new reality is that you don't want to be the party that implements this austerity model because (a) basically you no longer govern without Quadriga breathing down your neck and (b) the damage to your name and reputation would be great and impossible to either ignore or absorb.

Taking all of the above into account, the bottom line is that you should avoid being the governing party in Greece at this particular point in time because your damages/losses would be far greater than imagined. Therefore (and let's invoke Game Theory terms) the whole strategy and tactics must ensure how this burden of "high wear and tear governance" mode is taken over by (more likely forced upon) your opposition.

Therefore it's quite clear that Tsipras' best choice is to allow ND to win the next parliamentary election." 

Whether or not Tsipras will opt for this 'best choice' remains to be seen. He did have a similar option back in December of last year. Had he not forced early elections upon the country, he could have gathered support while in opposition for another year (or more) while the economy would have recovered a bit more and become a bit stronger to cope with SYIRZA's government style. Back then, immediate power seemed more important to Tsipras than a strategic take-over. Chances are that he will now again go for power even if he eventually collapses under the weight of responsibility.


  1. And in a country where 67% of the population is wholly reliant on the government for providing their income, the election result is predictable. They will vote for more state, what party(ies) who will provide it is irrelevant, and no party can, politically, afford not to.

    1. @ Berliner,

      Mayeb that 67% is a bit out of logic but lets say its 50%. Even so regadless of how and whom one feels about being supported by the govrnement 85% of the population wants euro. So the curtains now have been pulled and everybody knows there no road other than the PROGRAM.

      It is why our politicians have become so honest as of late. Because nody wants to be fit with the bill they are being honest. Whoever is leading party must implement.

      Read my other comments below. I think ND is the only party that sees the positives of enforcing the program and seeing light at the end of the tunnel. If they implement everything in 2 years by year 3-4 when new election come we will be growing. Hence ND will say we took the bad pill but we survived as a society and moved foward. Vote for us to flourish even more.

      Berliner, make no doubt of it. This 3rd program is not the last. They will be a 4th and maybe a 5th. Hopefully not in the same large sums.


  2. Nice Article Mr Kastner,

    Mr. Plassars also well put it but he is missing some points. The people from one end do not want elections but they want a governement with actual reform. We have to go to elections because in the state we are in, it is impossible to instill reform. I wrote a few months back after the capitulation of syriza that he had to eliminate the left wing. The only way is through elections but Tsipras has lost alot of face with this actions and many others. His rhetoric is even sounding boring. It sucks basically.

    Truth be said i believe that the great majority of greeks know what is coming and will vote for the government party who has shown that they have some balls to impliment. ND. I didn't like mamarakis at first but now he is growing on all of us. I think he is ideal to win and impliment. He is at the end of his career i and i believe he is the only one who can say he was the man who started the change in Greece. If the painful program is put in and followed properly, i believe greece can prosper. (Granted the debt issue is addressed properly in the manner you have stated in the mean time. Just like the IMF has said as well)

    Greeks know they want eu. There is no other way other than the program. Many will vote left for self preservation but they are completely unrealistic.

    The vote pie is mixed with small parties which worries me a multi governement can fail with the program. ND with a clear vote with support will move us foward.

    KKE: Sounds nice but unrealistic. They simply have no plan. It means North Koreanization of Greece.

    New Left: A failed Syriza left. Unrealistic and leftist Nazis'

    Konstandopoulou Party: If it arises. She may get into parliment. For me she has become What was Gerble of ww2 but on the left. If she was prime minister she would execute anybody on the right. She would make Mao and Stalin look like philanthropist.

    Leventis (Center): Curious to see him in the parliment. Possible partner.

    Syriza (Alex): You lied your ass off. Failed miserably and left us a huge bill. Nice boy, trying to be honest, but fucked us. You are incapable with the new persons on the ballot to run the country.

    PASOK: Just saying the word makes your hair stand up. Gone hopefully forever. Should have died with GPap passing.

    ND: Only realistic people who see things as is. They know and say carefully to greeks "We need to do as they tell us."

    Potami: Just like the name of the party. Their water will flow in the direction which is for populatiry.

    Anel: Gone.

    GPAP Party: Just laugh.

    Golden Dawn (Nazi): Nazi's I would understand if they were fascist nationalists and probably would do better if they didn't honor german nazi's. I still do not understand how they can admire ww2 nazi's when ww2 nazism took 13% of the greek population. the biggest population loss as a % of ww2. The grapphiti in greece is properly expressing who they are. "Oog" Cavemen.

    ND will win. 25-30%. I expect Alex below 20%. Then everyone else. I have not fallen out in my statistics of the last 2 elections and referendum.


    1. "She would make Mao and Stalin look like philanthropist." - lol

      Is 30% of votes for ND + the 50 'bonus' seats enough to get a workable majority?

      Interesting point re ND leader's age.

      Is there any chance of mirroring recent Turkish elections, i.e. another election - that surely would be bad for Greece.


    2. @ AnonymousSeptember 1, 2015 at 10:56 PM

      Glad I made you laugh. If there should be something we should try to maintain here in greece is our humor. If wiki Konstandopoulou you will find out that she is the daughter of a former leftist party leader in the beginning of 2000. It is common knowledge that her father beat her mother hence i believe the same he did to her daughter. I believe Konstandopoulou has psychiatric problems from a child which has formed her dark side.

      No 30% is not enough. They will form a coalition and ideally it would be good to do it with Syriza which will be 2nd. we do not need a new Tsipras rhetoric against what he brought to Greece. But it won't happen.

      So i figure ND + Potami + Pasok and Maybe Leventis. Leventis will be cautious because it will be the first time he enters parliment. He will want to be clear of any blood on his hands.

      Thing is nobody in truth wants to be the first party. Because this 3rd program will be receipted to the ruling party. Although i believe ND does have the composure to make it work. Plus the expereince and the excuse that it was Syriza Government who brought this program to Greece. I also believe ND is depending on our "partners" that liniency will be given for some measures and i believe it will be given as to give momentum to ND. The core measures will be implimented though and the keys to the success will be the privatizations and making Tax authority and National Statistical agency non governmental agencies.

      Another election? No God forbid no. Whoever is 1st will form a coalition. If Syriza does come 1st their rhetoric is that they will not team up with ND or Potami. But that is BS. They will not have a strong ruling party. Alex is lying though his teeth again.
      And he will not enforce the program as good as ND will.


    3. Dear V,
      I have a curious question: Around one month ago you were full of praise of Alexis Tsipras. You correctly predicted that he would soon call for elections. But you also said that he is the only "new" leader Greece has to offer, a leader without strong ties to the old, corrupt, unmoving establishment. He should win this election, afterwards cooperate with Potami and start to really reform Greece, as only he could do, lacking bonds to this establishment.

      You new comments sound totally different. You praise the ND, but isnt that the main party of the old establishment?
      What has changed your opinion that much?

      Greetings, Roger

    4. Hi Roger,

      Yes and very good point. What I want and the majority of greeks want is change. Most hope though the changes will happen to our neighbor but not to ourselves. But all know change must happen. Change needs to start somewhere and in some specific sectors as so other sectors of society begin to fall into place.

      The 2 biggest ailing problems of greek society are two. large obsolete government (ofcourse there are public workers that try hard but the majority is unproductive.) and the 2nd is tax evasion. Both are ailing problems.

      The 1st is a prioty for the reason that it is costing us and also exacerbating the 2nd problem. You can not tax evade if you do not help from government or public officials.

      Minimizing the government public and privatize and reform this sector will help reduce the 2nd problem to some extent. Seperate tax authority and placing systems to fight corruption solves the second. All other measures of society can be then tweeked. If tax evasion is stopped real and healthy business will follow. You can not compete as an honest business when the majority is more competitive due to tax evasion.

      The problem is who has the strength as a govenement to make this change.

      I believed in Alex when he made the 180 degree turn. Even though he has lied. But now that major key MP's have left, not the ones that have gone to the new left wing fringe, but MP's that simply left hurt badly. He will need to replace them with who? Alex may have the will to change greece as troika suggests but does he have the power within his own party to do it? And does he have the people experienced to do it? No. For me the biggest blow was Tsakalotos. MP of finance and economy. There are others as well. Meanwhile you are also unaware that in the summer the government stopped the development of the gold mine in northern greece. How can you want to want change and investment and then shut down such an invetsment. (Granted there is foul play on environmental issue from greek Gold co. but last week the court ruled against the government that greek gold was following everything according to the agreements.) No clear light has been shed on greek gold either by any government nor the media. Why so much mystery? Or did the governemnet do this to gain votes last minute and then go on as usual?


    5. continued...

      Alex is a nice face to have but you can not sign the agreement then say you will make some changes. Too much hypocracy and in the meantime say that we will implement the program.

      What needs to be done needs to be done. That is the bottom line and right now Tsipras does not have the knowledgable people nor the strong backing by his own people, so what is to happen if we have new MP renegades in 6 months again? New elections?

      In ND the party is more strict. If you do not vote this law you are released of your position.

      I fear the old ND which created this mess in the 1990's but the new ND did make an effort to make changes and good changes. They simply ignored the point one mentioned above. Now with this new agreement it is 1st priority. Hence if ND wins they implement and blame Tsipras for bringing this crappy agreement. Meanwhile everybody in parliment and on the road kows this needs to happen. They just do not say it openly because it costs votes and popularity which conrtibute to survival in the nice political structure which pays well.

      If i was prime minister i would not get paid i would work for free and give my income to charity as an example to society that i am in pain as you.

      The bottom line is change. we need the change. The 14 airports sale is a good step. But it was easy of all that need to be done.

      Honestly i do not care who makes the changes as long as it is done.

      Also Mamarakis has shown very good leadership in ND at a time when they fell apart. There also very good qualified MP's whom have proven they do work and produce results with out "taking."

      BTW, i was on my island for vacation for 17 days. I was sick for 14 of those days. I wen to the hospital. They have nothing but doctors and nurses. A few bandages and basic medical treatment. If anything ever happens to you seriously outside of major cities, your dead. Just a spectrum of how much the cut backs have hurt us.

      Hope your well Roger,


    6. Hi V,
      thank you to explain how your thoughts were going.
      I did not realizes the stepback of Tsakalotis. He seemed to be a good guy, but no doubt his job is not thankful. (There is a reason the most undiplomatic (or even rough) guy in German government ist the finance minister as he must regularly say "no" to get his numbers clean. Many unpopular decisions.)
      I hope you will get a government that has the strength to move the country, as you need it. From which party ever.
      And as every government is just as good as its voters I wish you getting a mood in Greece for a change, even if it will hurt deeper as well.
      If the Greece people will not vote for a change and not stand to a government of change, nobody external will be able to help you.
      Best wishes, Roger

    7. Hi Roger,

      No problem. BTW a few days ago, Nikos Pappas, Tsipras's right hane man stepped down from Syriza.

      In continuation to the above, I believe Tsipras may be purposely saying and making mistakes to not be the 1st voted governement. Sometimes the mistakes of what he says sound so blatant I can't help but think, "did he just say that? is he retarded? he will lose x% of the vote wiith what he just said."

      In general i get the feeling he wants to rework his party and come back later. So either he is making calculated mistakes to lose or he is an idiot or he has no good advisors left. So what this equates to is someone he can not implement the program.

      ND. Yes they helped build up this crisis for greece but in actuality how much is attributed to ND. Only Mitsotakis in 80's ruled and Karamalis in the 2000's leading up to the crisis. Karamalis's regime was full of scandals and had no choice to move foward with the paying of the Olympic games x 20 over the budget value. He helped blow up the public sector.

      From that old ND, there are not many mp's left from the past. Or at least the corrupt ones. Even back in the 80's Mitsotakis was saying the pension system needs to be overhalded because ti will blow up in our face.

      People know we have no choice but to take the painful medicine. I believe they ideas of everyone is to select someone who can make them as painless as possible. Right now there is pre election rhetoric. There is absolutely no discussion on the program. I guess everyone knows it is a given.


  3. Thanks V, for this great summary. Hopefully you are right with your prediction at the end. Just one question:

    You wrote "KKE: Sounds nice but unrealistic." In what way do KKE sound nice? Would they be great if they had a plan?

    1. @ AnonymousSeptember 1, 2015 at 8:27 PM

      KKE is a very funny issue for me personally. As so i am balnced person in my life i have read and studied as much spectrums of history and political rulings. Communism and Lenninism are not bad ideas or systems, but they simply can not work because of human nature. Plus they are systems which do not bring progress into the future. They may be good temporary solutions for like 10-20 years so a society becomes humble but long term it is a failure. It has been proven otherwise.

      Now greek Communism is quite funny. We have a bunch of ruling KKE part leaders whoms personal lives are no different than the richest capitalists of Greece. Basically, i would say that they are more of a commentator or observers of where Capitalism has failed rather than what communism or socialism would for Greece.

      That is exactly what they do. So when they make comments or allegations, or point out major flaws in our political decision making society, they are completely right. Truely. My question to them is what is the solution and or alternative. They have no answer other than exiting the euro, europe all together and NATO.

      They are so funny when they say that because i also ask them and then what? I tell them north korea because no country will even dare trade with us. We would have to be completely dependable on ourselves. Even if that happened it would take us 10 years to develop the infrastructure to give our society the basic essentials.

      Discussions with KKE supporters are never ending. I know many and many are quite wise and educated. These people could contibute to Greece but not under communism. There party vote base is always about 3-8%. so we are talking about 300,000 - 500,000 people. Most of these people are very poor. Some quite lazy and uneducated who want the government literrally to take care of them. Many like the surface ideas but do not know what it truly means to be comminist state.

      It would be great indeed if they had a plan. A real plan. Why? Not as to take voter base but help adjust and shape the politcal idealogy in Greece to change for the future. KKE for the last 20-30 years is to be blamed as much as PASOK and ND for what has aspired in Greece. Their same rhetoric has not allowed room for change.

      In any case regardless of politcal position and party, there are many great greek politicians which have and had great ideas. That is the problem of greece as they remain as ideas and never get implemented. That is why unfortunately we need troika. It saddens me to say it because it makes me feel incompitent being a part of this society. I do my best to try to help my society.

      An ideal society is a socialist base where capitalism is allowed to flourish under regulations meanwhile taking car of the less fortunate. All this also requires filotimo (kindness and understanding for your surroundings and people) from each individual. Something like the scandinavian countries. G PAP wanted to build greece into such a model.


  4. I just can't wait for the Thessaloniki International fair this year. ND's travelling circus is already promising the farmers that they will never pay taxes. Tsipras is promising everybody that he will not implement the memorandum. Just imagine what dizzying heights they will be able to pull themselves up to when they speak to the NATION. We will hear promises of sunshine in the weekends, no wages below average, victory in the coming football cup and retirement upon completion of your university degree.
    Now, some people with long memories may say "we have heard that before, surely the Greeks won't buy it again". To those I will reveal the secret, just tell them "you deserve it".

  5. Is it true that Tsipras has, very discrete, asked Scheuble if his EUR 50 BIO offer for a Greek time-out is still on the table?

  6. @ V.
    The 67% was quoted from an article by Justin Murray in Mises Daily 5 August, 2015. Even if the figure is inaccurate I don't think it is very much. Some random figures from the same table are: Netherlands 35, Denmark 40, France 57, Italy 63, and the one that scares me most, Germany 48, that is dangerous close to to 50 "point of no return".

  7. @ Berliner
    I read the article in Mises with interest, although the author do not mention how he calculated the 67% my gut feeling tells me that they are fairly accurate and that all figures have been calculated with the same methodology. These figures do not reveal the whole truth, and certainly not for Greece, they are the people who are WHOLLY reliant on the government. In Greece, however, lots of people work in large companies where the state is a major shareholder (ELPE etc.). In such companies they also influence how many, and how well paid, the employees are.
    So, yes, they have reached the point of no return a long time ago, the system cannot be changed by democratic means. It can be changed by violent means or by "starving the beast" (state).