Greek crisis will unite anti-austerity voters, says Emory's Lancaster
May 18, 2012
The upcoming Greek elections June 17 will be decided on the single issue of European Union mandated austerity, but that issue is coming into sharper focus for Greek voters, according to Emory University political scientist Thomas D. Lancaster.
"In the last election, anti-austerity voters had many choices of parties--from the far left to the far right and even some moderate right parties--but most were relatively new and largely unknown," says Lancaster, an expert in European politics.
That will change in the next elections. "While ideology will continue to drive many of the anti-austerity voters, the leftist Syriza party, which came in second last time, will attract many pragmatists who just want a clear anti-austerity message sent to the European Union and Germany," he says.
Lancaster believes that until the elections are held, investors will continue to run on the Greek banks, taking their money out of the marketplace.
"Capital flight from Greece is the rational, although not patriotic, thing to do for any business or person with liquid assets," he explains. "This is where ideology returns. The Left will see such capital flight as a mechanism where business/conservative forces have an advantage over the working class, which is an underlying theme about the austerity packages anyway."
The looming question over this Greek financial crisis continues to be the future of Greece as a member of the EuroZone. While the interim government will find it difficult to stop capital flight, Lancaster says it may even be hypocritical to do so. Staying with the EuroZone means operating with a "common market," which is what investors are taking advantage of.
"If the Greek government clamps down on the freedom to move capital outside of Greece but still within Europe, it will have strong anti-European elements," he says. "On this, too, Greece is caught between a rock and a hard-place."