Saturday 7 December 2019

Greek poll may be key to euro's future

For those still following the seemingly interminable eurozone crisis, all eyes will be on the second round of the French presidential election, which takes place today. However, the results of the Greek parliamentary election, which also takes place today, could have a far greater bearing on the future of the single currency.

Barring a miracle, President Sarkozy will be out of a job today. His seemingly imminent demise has distracted attention from Greece, where the eurozone crisis first began.

Greece bans the publication of opinion polls within two weeks of polling day. However, the last batch of polls published a fortnight ago were showing the combined support of the governing New Democracy and PASOK parties at just 40pc, less than half of the proportion of the vote which the parties received in the last Greek election in 2009. Most Greeks will instead vote for a mixed bag of hard left, post-communist, extreme nationalist and neo-fascist parties.

While it would still be mathematically possible for the ruling coalition to eke out a narrow majority, a result along the lines indicated by the opinion polls would almost certainly rob the Greek government of the democratic legitimacy required to push through more tough austerity measures.

This could in turn thrust the country back into the eye of the storm sooner rather than later. Greece hasn't gone away you know.

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