Τετάρτη, 28 Ιανουαρίου 2015

The expats guide to Greek politics part 2

Note: I'm ditching the "housewives" from the title, it was only a little joke anyway...

Here is a little more on Greece.

Politics.

Like opening a can of worms in ANY country...



But greek politics? more like opening two cans of worms...



I started this article as something slightly different, to give an overview of the situation in Greece currently. Because I like to always do a little research before I put my views about for anyone to see, I did a litlle digging for information...

Here is what I've come up with or know
Let's start with a very quick overview of greek politics over the years..

The ANCIENT Greeks invented Democracy. Real, True, Democracy, meaning justice for all and equality between poor and rich, only lasted for about 140 years. It was a little known man, by the name of Efialtes who managed to create and implement a proper judicial system that allowed the poor a shot at equality and stopped the rich for overruning everything and turning the Democracy into an Oligarchy (where the few rule). The rich of ancient Athens were so in awe of this wise man, Efialtes, that they often saw him, chasing them, in their dreams... and thus the Greek word for "nightmare" came about... Efialtis lost its capital "E" and now means nightmare.

Efialtes in comic book style...
Once they got rid of him and his friends, all ideas of Democracy were forgotten, and Democracy never returned to Greece. Ever. And I'm afraid I kid you not...
In fact, as History is written by the winners, and made to justify the present, they almost managed to "write"  poor Efialtes out of History, altogether...you will see very little mention of him anywhere.

Greece went on to be invaded by Romans, Vandals, Turks, to have kings, to have oligarchs and tyrrants, emperors and dictators... but never again a Democracy... only semblances of one, only bad copies..

And...that wraps up the history lesson for today...

Let's lighten up a bit and take a look at the players in today's political scene...:

NEA DIMOKRATIA
The New Democracy is your classic "Tories". The party was created when it was realised the colonels had to go in 1974 and there was a requirement for a civilian government to take over. A transitory government was formed under Kostantine Karamanlis Senior, and then elections were held which they comfortably won. Nea Dimokratia has since changed a few "proedrous", one of the most famous being Mr Kostas Mitsotakis, who is notorious for being the world record holder in the evil eye. It is believed that if he wishes you  "good morning", you could possibly die within the hour...
Many of its "proedroi" and members were, or had, close ties with Nazi collaborators.
(after election update: ex-PM Samaras, hated by many ND members for being the one who toppled the government in 1992, REFUSED to be present at the handover ceremony of the PM's offices... very bad show I'm afraid...and I refuse to let it go...)
In other news, the notorious Mitsotakis suffered a heart attack on election day and has since had a pacemaker installed (I'm not kidding)
Another take on the New Democracy logo...
PASOK
Stands for Panelinio Sosialistiko Kinima. Started by Mr Andreas Papandreou, George's father. Rumour has it the Americans funded the party originally. The idea is they could see their cronies until then (Nea Dimokratia) loosing ground so they decided to put the "other side" in their pockets too. There are, supposedly, declassified CIA documents proving this.. (bit of a conspiracy theory that, but you know what they say? Where there is smoke, there is fire...) PASOK managed to win a landslide victory in 1981, after which it was all downhill... Money was pouring in from the EU, supposedly for building infrastructures for the country to progress, while all the time the politicians were just lining each others pockets with it, and  taking care of "rousfetia" (political favors) by creating jobs for everyone who had voted for them and their family...(and extended family...) A famous moment was when Papandreou shouted to his then Minister of Finance, Mr Tsovolas, "Tsovola dosta ola!!" (Tsovolas give it all away!) Papandreou's father, George senior is also reported to have been a Nazi collaborator..
PASOK today is a joke. Mr Venizelos the party "proedros", is a prime example of all that is wrong with the politics of this country. Famous for writing (and passing) the law that protects all ministers from any responsibility towards the people and stopping justice from getting them, he once famously changed his surname to make it better for his political career. His real surname is Turkoglou... (now THAT wouldn't do...)
(Election update: After George Papandreou or GAP , set up his own party, they ended up with a meager 5% or less at the elections. That is 5% more than they should have got as far as I'm concerned...)
High time the green sun was swept away...
KKE
The Communist Party. As Communist parties go, seriously hardline... They have fluctuated up and down in percentages, from about 5-11%. Even though they 've taken part in coalitions before (1974) and once even teamed up (an unholy alliance, if there ever was one) with Nea Dimokratia to create the government that would take Andreas Papandreou to court, they are so hardline they refuse to join up with any other party or movement of the Left, even abroad! Something which has not helped them at all... Famous for being one of the few Communist parties to survive the fall of socialism in 1989.
Also famous for apparently having some secret rule that its leaders must be the most bland and uncharismatic people possible. They talk a special language which is called "xilini" (wooden in Greek)  In fact now I think of it, it makes sense..they are a bit like the wooden puppets in Stingray...



SYRIZA
The Left in Greece, has often been broken up into dozens of smaller parties...in 2001, some of these smaller groups managed to put their heads together and create a sort of a common platform... It wasn't easy, Greeks being Greeks... but after a few ups and downs it got to were it is today.. Many of the "more left leaning" and older members are afraid that too many old PASOK members have made their way into the party... This is probably true, as SYRIZA was a middle of the road Eurocommunist/socialist party they could associate with... SYRIZA, like almost every other Greek party has had (and has...) its share of infamous memebers... Two that quickly spring to mind , Petros Tatsopoulos who once, famously, claimed in parliament to have bedded half of Athens.



The other one Grigoris Psarianos, a music producer and songwriter who drives around in little red sportscars and smoke cigars, and has a penchant for making a fool of himself... He was once caught on camera saying the Parliament should be burned down, and another time claiming the "17th November" had the people's support when they were murdering "ex-torturers, killers and proven assholes". When he was young he wrote a popular song, amongst whose lyrics was the following line "oh how I wish I could fart on the seats of parliament" (It actually makes for quite a good rhyme in Greek...)

what did I just say?!!


POTAMI (The River)
Fancy naming a political party after a Bruce Springsteen song... Potami leader Mr Theodorakis, is a lifestyle reporter, famous for his ... "rucksack" and casual dress, who thinking himself pretty clever and with the backup of a big media player behind him, decided to create "The River" party... sounds like fun eh! (His backer is Bobolas, owner of Mega channel and big time contractor of practically every major roadwork in Greece. He is also tied to the infamous "Skouries" gold mine) Unfortunately ole Stav, has all the charisma of a wet rag (always wanted to say that about someone) and you only have to listen to him once to understand how full of himself he is...
(Breaking news...a memo has surfaced, which he sent to his campaigners, during the last few days before the election. In it he proposes that they concentrate on the undecided... and if they are women, that they they should remind them, he was the guy that did the "Protagonistes" reporting show on TV...) he's sad really.
(A little example of how things work with big interests... Bobolas builds the roads, and gets paid for it. Then he also gets the income from the tolls for a certain amount of years, supposedly to maintain the roads..and when due to the crisis the tolls are not making as much as he would like, he puts in a claim for loss of income and gets 350 million Euros compensation! Paid by us!)

stavroeconomy..if we raise wages, the raise will be spent on fuel, and food which are mostly inported so that will increase the deficit..so we say less wages! (and he really did say it...)

KIDISO
Another joke. George Papandreou junior, famous for being the PM that signed ours and our chidrens lives away when he asked for IMF and EU intervention in 2009, has crawled out of the woodwork, and created a new party... The Democratic Socialists Movement... He has some gall...One of his brothers apparently made a fortune out of dealing in CDS at the time...and the other is said to have been some kind of spy... yet here he is, asking us to vote for him again... The only good thing that can come out of this is that maybe, just maybe, with the "split" PASOK and KIDISO will (I do so wish) come out under 3% and find themselves out of parliament... (fingers crossed...)
(Update: KIDISO, I told you so...  they only got 2.4% and didn't get into parliament...yeah!!!)

George Andreas Papandreou or GAP


Golden (frigging) Dawn.
A bunch of thugs, masquerading as a political party. Half of them are already in jail for killing a leftwing rapper called Pavlos Fyssas. They are all a brainless bunch of Nazi-loving idiots, and anybody who votes for them is a seriously  troubled individual... Their leader is in jail too.
(Only in Greece... policemen vote in separate voting centers as they are on duty... So it is possible to sort of see what they vote for... Golden Dawn regularly gets 40-50% in these voting centers..making for the surreal situation where policemen are actually voting for criminals...) Golden Dawn managed to be the third party again...(I will dedicate a complete post to this shame...)

need we say more?
LAOS
Only slightly less fascist than the previous ones, in that they don't make it so obvious... LAOS stands for Popular Orthodox Alarm..and... yes it is alarming... LAOS notoriously joined up to create a coalition government back in 2011 when Papandreou resigned. Two of the party members, Adonis Georgiadis, a true political circus act, and Makis Voridis (axe wielding ex member of a militant extreme right wing group called EPEN) quickly saw what was good for them and jumped ship joining Nea Dimokratia. LAOS is the classic "For God, family and country" kind of party... think Junta and colonels nostalgia, think extreme right wing lovers of Greek tradition, think in some cases even nostalgic believers in the pantheon of Gods! (you know the 12 on Mount Olympus...) Think Republicans...

Adonis Georgiadis ex television book salesman, turned Minister of Health...
ANEL
Led by Panos Kammenos, Greece's answer to Nigel Farage, the "Independent Greeks"  are a bit of a mishmash... Apparently Mr Kammenos is one of those who believe we are being sprayed from above... (chemtrails) (you never know, could be true...) On a more serious note, they are the small party who joined up with Syriza to create a coalition government a couple of days ago. Mr Kammenow was one of the first politicians to start calling things by their name back in 2010, or even before. The fact they talk about the good of the country and patriotism, has left many with the impression that they are slightly nationalistic... also they wish to see a proper solution to the immigrant problem... However I believe it may be a case of some misunderstanding..also the media has targeted them heavily...  I know people who are members and are quite respectful and certainly not nationalists...

Panow Kammenos doing something h is good at. Getting angry!


And that wraps up the presentation for tonight... There a re a number of smaller parties, DIMAR quickly spring to mind who were part of the previous government in the beggining, but lost so much in poppularity, they are no almost nothing...
Also some quaint ones, we will go into in the next part...

Part 3 soon to come... 

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