let’s party – Greek style

It’s party time – 32 parties, to be exact.  As most of you probably have heard by now, Greeks vote on Sunday for a new government.  They’ll be voting for 300 Parliament seats; the new Parliament will choose a Prime Minister, President, etc., so this is the big election.  It’s the equivalent of Americans electing the President and the entire Senate and House of Representatives all on the same day.

Thirty six parties applied to run in the election; thirty two were approved by the Greek Supreme Court.  Not all 32 are on the ballot in every prefecture (a prefecture is like a state – there are 51 prefectures).  In S’s prefecture, there are about 20 parties on the ballot.  Some of the parties are just so small that they weren’t able to get onto every ballot.

Even when you only have 20 parties to choose from, it’s still a bit overwhelming.  So, to help Greeks figure out which party is most aligned with their own beliefs, there is a website called Help Me Vote – you fill out a questionnaire and it lists the parties in order according to how close they come to your answers; and they show you where you, and the parties, sit on the political spectrum.

It’s a useful website but it’s only available in Greek.  When S and I did the questionnaire, it occurred to me that the questions themselves are very telling about the current political and social reality in Greece.  Though you may not be interested in the differences between the parties, the questions that the parties are discussing are enlightening.

And since it’s quite likely that the new Parliament will include some parties that most people outside Greece have never heard of, I’ll also indicate what each of 13 major parties has to say about each question.

The parties covered by this questionnaire are:
PASOK: Socialist Party (elected to power in 2009)
ND: New Democracy Liberal Party (in power until 2009)
KKE: Communist Party of Greece, currently in Parliament
Syriza: Leftist group of parties, currently in Parliament
LAOS: Religious right party, currently in Parliament
Greens: Ecologist-Greens, environmentalist party, not in Parliament
Antarsya: Revolutionary Communist party, not in Parliament
DemAr: Democratic Left, centrist party, not in Parliament
Indep: Independent Hellenes, rightist party, not in Parliament
GD: Golden Dawn, neonazi/nationalist party, not in Parliament
DemSym: Democratic Alliance, rightist party, not in Parliament
Action: Drasi (Action), rightist party, not in Parliament
SA: Social Agreement, centrist party, not in Parliament

1.  Prison sentences should be reduced for prisoners to reduce overcrowding of prisons.
..Strongly Agree: PASOK, Syriza, Antarsya
..Agree: Greens, DemAr, DemSym, Action
..Disagree: ND
..Strongly Disagree: LAOS, Indep, GD
..Didn’t answer: KKE, SA

2.  The police need to use harsher measures to protect the personal property of citizens.
..Strongly Agree: LAOS, Indep, GD
..Agree: PASOK, ND, DemSym, Action
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: SA

3.  Citizens need to accept measures such as video monitoring to protect against terrorism and crime.
..Strongly Agree: ND, LAOS, Indep, GD
..Agree: PASOK, DemSym, Action
..Disagree: Greens, SA
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya, DemAr

4.  We have every right to renege on the debt and don’t have to answer to anyone.
..Strongly Agree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya, Indep, GD
..Disagree: ND, LAOS, SA
..Strongly Disagree: PASOK, DemSym, Action
..Didn’t answer: Greens, DemAr

5.  The unemployment problem requires more flexible forms of labor.
..Strongly Agree: ND, DemSym, Action
..Agree: PASOK, LAOS, Indep
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya, SA
..Didn’t answer: GD

6.  Further legal measures are necessary to limit protests and demonstrations.
..Strongly Agree: ND, LAOS, GD
..Agree: PASOK, Indep, DemSym, Action
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr, SA
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya

7.  Defense spending should not be reduced, to protect the country.
..Strongly Agree: LAOS, Indep, GD
..Agree: ND
..Disagree: PASOK, KKE, Syriza, Greens, DemAr, Action
..Strongly Disagree: Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: DemSym, SA

8.  Reduction in business taxes will help drive development.
..Strongly Agree: ND, DemSym
..Agree: PASOK, LAOS, DemAr, Indep, Action, SA
..Disagree: Greens, GD
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya

9.  Environmental protection laws need to be relaxed to attract investment.
..Agree: PASOK, ND, LAOS, Indep, DemSym
..Disagree: KKE, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: Syriza, Greens, Antarsya, DemAr
..Didn’t answer: GD

10.  I approve of people’s disobedience movements, such as the “I won’t pay” movement.
..Strongly Agree: Syriza, Antarsya
..Agree: KKE, Greens, Indep, GD
..Disagree: PASOK, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: ND, DemSym
..Didn’t answer: LAOS, DemAr

11.  The children of immigrants cannot be completely absorbed into the Greek community.
..Strongly Agree: LAOS, Indep, GD
..Agree: ND
..Disagree: PASOK, Greens, DemAr, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: KKE, DemSym

12.  Greeks who were born from Greek fathers and mothers should have more rights than others.
..Strongly Agree: LAOS, Indep, GD
..Agree: ND
..Disagree: PASOK, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: Syriza, Greens, Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: KKE, DemAr, DemSym

13.  The rules covering political asylum and naturalization need to be made more strict.
..Strongly Agree: ND, LAOS, Indep, GD
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: Syriza, Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: PASOK, KKE, DemSym

14.  Multiculturalism is a positive phenomenon in Greece.
..Strongly Agree: Syriza, Greens, Antarsya, DemAr
..Agree: PASOK, KKE, DemSym, Action, SA
..Disagree: Indep
..Strongly Disagree: LAOS, GD
..Didn’t answer: ND

15.  Private institutions of higher learning should be legal in Greece.
..Strongly Agree: ND, LAOS, DemSym, Action
..Agree: PASOK, Indep, SA
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: GD

16.  The public health system should be partly privatized.
..Strongly Agree: ND, DemSym
..Agree: PASOK, LAOS, Indep, Action
..Disagree: DemAr
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Greens, Antarsya, SA
..Didn’t answer: GD

17.  The budgets of welfare services (help for invalids, daycare) should be increased, by the increase in local taxes.
..Strongly Agree: PASOK
..Agree: KKE, Syriza, Greens, Antarsya, DemAr
..Disagree: DemSym, Action, SA
..Didn’t answer: ND, LAOS, Indep, GD

18.  Increased property taxes are necessary to cover the national deficit.
..Strongly Agree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya
..Agree: PASOK, Greens, DemAr
..Disagree: LAOS, DemSym
..Strongly Disagree: Action
..Didn’t answer: ND, Indep, GD, SA

19.  The Orthodox Christian Church should be completely separated from the Government.
..Strongly Agree: KKE, Syriza, Greens, Antarsya, DemAr, Action
..Agree: PASOK, SA
..Disagree: DemSym
..Strongly Disagree: ND, LAOS, Indep, GD

20.  It is better for Greece to be in the European Union rather than out.
..Strongly Agree: PASOK, ND, Greens, DemSym, Action, SA
..Agree: Syriza, LAOS, DemAr
..Disagree: Indep
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Antarsya, GD

21.  The Greek economy would benefit from having its own currency, rather than the Euro.
..Strongly Agree: KKE, Antarsya, GD
..Agree: Syriza, Indep
..Disagree: ND, LAOS, SA
..Strongly Disagree: PASOK, Greens, DemAr, DemSym, Action

22.  The European Parliament needs to have additional power over all domestic and foreign policy.
..Strongly Agree: Greens
..Agree: PASOK, DemAr, DemSym, Action, SA
..Disagree: LAOS
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Antarsya, Indep, GD
..Didn’t answer: ND, Syriza

23.  I share in the anger and indignation shown during demonstrations on national holidays.
..Strongly Agree: Syriza, Antarsya
..Agree: KKE, Greens
..Disagree: ND, LAOS, DemAr, Indep, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: PASOK, DemSym
..Didn’t answer: GD

24.  The two major parties (PASOK and New Democracy) between which power has shifted back and forth since the reestablishment of democracy have completed their life cycle and should be relegated to the margins.
..Strongly Agree: KKE, Syriza, LAOS, Greens, Antarsya, Indep, GD
..Agree: DemAr, DemSym, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: PASOK, ND

25.  The renewal of the political system can only come from new political parties.
..Strongly Agree: Antarsya, Indep, GD
..Agree: Greens, DemSym, Action, SA
..Disagree: Syriza
..Strongly Disagree: PASOK, ND, KKE
..Didn’t answer: LAOS, DemAr

26.  Technocrats in positions of political power are necessary for the righting of the economic and political problems.
..Agree: PASOK, LAOS, DemSym
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr, Indep, GD, Action, SA
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya
..Didn’t answer: ND

27.  The Memorandum with the Troika (IMF/EU) can be renegotiated.
..Strongly Agree: Syriza, Antarsya, Indep, SA
..Agree: KKE, LAOS, Greens, DemAr, GD, Action
..Disagree: PASOK
..Didn’t answer: ND, DemSym

28.  The Troika’s Memorandum was essential to prevent default.
..Strongly Agree: PASOK, DemSym
..Agree: Action
..Disagree: Greens, DemAr, GD, SA
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya, Indep
..Didn’t answer: LAOS

29.  Much of what the Memorandum requires are things that should have been done anyway long since.
..Strongly Agree: DemSym, Action
..Agree: PASOK, ND, LAOS, Greens, DemAr, SA
..Disagree: Syriza, Indep, GD
..Strongly Disagree: KKE, Antarsya

30.  The Memoranda are simply accumulating debt with no visible benefit.
..Strongly Agree: KKE, Syriza, Antarsya, Indep, GD
..Agree: LAOS, Greens, DemAr, SA
..Disagree: PASOK, ND, DemSym, Action

When I filled out the questionnaire, I identified 77% with one party, all the way down to -53% with another, with all the others falling somewhere in between.  I’m glad to see that my #1 party happens to be the party that S was planning to vote for anyway ;).

For those interested, the other parties are the following:  Centrist Union; Greek Ecologists; NO – Democratic Renaissance/Unified People’s Front; I Won’t Pay Movement; National Resistance Party; Marxist-Leninist Communist Party/Communist Party (Marxist/Leninist); Biethnic Greek Communist Organization; Trotskyist Revolutionary Workers’ Party; Organization for the Reworking of KKE; National Unity Party; Capodistrian Continuity Society; Pirates; Creation Again; Panathenaic Movement; Dignity; Independent Renewal Left-Renewal Right-Renewal PASOK-Renewal ND-No to War-Land/Debt/Life Gift Party-Farmers’ and Workers’ Movement of Greece; Town Development Party; Tyrannicides.

With a Pirate party and a Tyrannicide party, I guess we should expect an exciting race!

18 thoughts on “let’s party – Greek style

  1. Political ads, public talks, what a joke… I read what they say (claim) and they are disgusting. By the way, if the Neonazi enter the Parliament (because some people just don’t use their brain) then we will have actually reached the bottom of the barrel. Pfff, I’m already upset. Let’s see what will happen.

    • One good thing about so many parties is that only about 3% of Greeks claim not to feel represented by any party. There are so many different views that there is usually a party that at least somewhat covers everybody. Of course if you trust that party is an entirely different issue.

      • I completely agree with you. The problem is, does everyone have the patience and logic to search for this party or they will go for the easy solution?.. I’m afraid nothing will change with these elections..

        • maybe not everyone, but certainly most people do, I think. Right now I’m watching speeches by the Party for the Reorganization of KKE which will get less than 1% of the vote, but they’re on, uninterupted, on one of the major channels at 5:30pm two days before the election! I don’t consider my husband ‘average’ by any measure but he is an example of someone who can describe in depth the platform of ALL the small parties and even the even smaller parties that formed alliances to form those small parties. On the other hand, you are absolutely right in that you have your older voters who are terrorized by everything and everyone, and cling to the two big parties that they “grew up with” in a sense. My father in law, for example, despite all our efforts to knock sense into him, will NEVER vote for any party other than the party he’s been voting for since the first election he could legally vote in! No matter what! Those are the people whose political consciousness is basically religious. Those are basically the two kinds of people in Greece. The big question is which group is bigger. I saw a poll today indicating that ND and PASOK were 3rd and 4th with no more than 11% of the vote for either, and with Syriza winning the election. Polls are all over the place, of course, but it’s still worth noting that there are other scenarios in play.

            • I am an optimist at heart; the economic situation is a complete disaster but the political situation is actually *finally* up for a vote and I am going to keep my optimism until the results are in. Incidentally, S will be voting for one of the parties that may or may not get the 3% minimum popular vote necessary to get a seat in Parliament, and we are on the same page (I don’t have a vote here). For us, we aren’t hoping to “win”, but we’d be thrilled to see “our party” in Parliament.

      • Right. In this U.S., I don’t think we could even begin to define such a category (American Indians?, original settlers? second generation only?). Of course, even if we could, it would be inconsistent with our Constitution – a bit of a problem.

        • The concept of American citizenship isn’t quite as simple as many think, too. As an American living abroad, I can pass American citizenship to my children, but they have to live in the US for at least 14 years to pass it on to their children – and they would lose it altogether at some point, I think (??). If I had lived in the US for fewer than 14 years, I wouldn’t be able to pass it on to them.

          I can become a Greek citizen once I’ve lived here for 12 years, but I can never become a Greek national (they’re different legally – in the US, I believe that a US national and a US citizen are the same thing). To become a Greek national, I’d have to prove Greek blood. I don’t know what the difference is in practice – but there are some. For example, if I become a Greek citizen and then have a child with someone who is not a Greek citizen, they might not be able to be a citizen – I’m not sure. It doesn’t apply to me so I haven’t looked into it.

          The original question was about Greek nationals, not about Greek citizens. I just don’t know enough about the difference to be more clear, though.

  2. Heidi,
    All of this is very interesting 🙂
    You made mention of ” In S’s prefecture…”
    Since you didn’t say “our prefecture,” is there a distinction? Does he have to vote where he was born or some such? Maybe you don’t get to vote? Sorry, not trying to get too personal. Just want to learn. Feel free to e-mail, if you wish.

    All the best,
    ~ Dana

    • Yes, both. I am American, so I can’t vote in Greece. Only Greek citizens have the right to vote. As far as the location goes – you vote where you are registered, and because we move around so much, he keeps his registration in his hometown. His dad votes in HIS hometown, so we will go to the in laws house, and they will go to relatives for the weekend. But my mother in law votes where they live so they have to make sure they get back early enough in the evening so she can vote before the polls close!

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