by Alan Thornhill
Don’t expect to see the full results of the latest Greek elections immediately.
Voting was already underway at the time of writing the two sides appeared to be close.
Although Greece is a long way from Australia, its crisis is still affecting this country, undermining both consumer and business confidence.
The German government is making no secret of the fact that it expects Greece to accept the austerity measures, that come with the latest bail out offer, for that troubled country.
On the eve of the vote, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “It is extremely important that tomorrow’s Greek elections lead to a result in which those who form the government say, ‘Yes, we want to keep to our commitments.’”
In Greece, though, both the Right’s New Democracy Party and the Syriza Party on the Left, believe the specified conditions are too harsh, and must be renegotiated.
There has been some sympathy for that view.
In remarks quoted by the Reuters news agency a few hours before polls opened, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Angel Gurria suggested that the next Greek government should be given a chance to revisit the bailout conditions.
“If that is the condition presented for Greece to stay [in the eurozone] and then move on, I would say it is probably something that should be attempted,” he was quoted as saying.
Mrs Merkel, though, is emphasising that there are limits to what the German nation can do
The youthful head of Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, rejects the tough conditions offered with the latest bailout proposal.
Bit he wants Greece to stay in the eurozone, saying a bailout is possible without the kind of drastic cuts demanded of Greece.
“Brussels expect us, we are coming on Monday to negotiate over people’s rights, to cancel the bailout,” he told a final rally on Thursday.
Most investors would welcome a clear win by the New Democracy, believing that would reduce the risk of Greece, ultimately, being forced out of the European Union, with unsettling consequences.
However some observers, including the Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, differ.
In his latest book, End This Depression Now, Krugman argues that many conservative leaders are trying to turn the global economic crisis into “a morality play.”
He argues that the problem is lack of demand, and action should be taken to boost the global economy, to end unemployment, even if that results in mild inflation.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Monday May 20
The Dow Jones Index rose 121.18 points Friday,New York time) to 15,354.40
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has received a boost in the latest newspaper polls as she continues her push to get states and territories to sign up to the Federal Government’s education reforms. Fairfax’s latest Nielsen poll says support for Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister has increased four points to 46 per cent, leaving her level with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, whose support dipped four points.
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