MeRA25 and the Greek elections: Fearlessly fighting the establishment

The election campaign of the newly founded German electoral wing, MERA25 in Bremen, already caused a stir and achieved almost 8,000 votes in the elections on May 14. Irrespective of the electoral result, the Bremen campaign was a triumph for us: it proved that DiEM25 internationalism works in practice, focused our energies with a target and timeframe we could all get behind, provided a lesson in how to make noise with almost no budget and gave us some great insights that we can take into future elections

MeRA25 – DiEM25’s electoral wing in Greece – made the jump from zero to nine in March 2018, a year after its inception. Nine “troublemakers” have since caused a stir in the Greek Parliament. MeRA25 was then for four years the only party that exercised opposition. The other parties (SYRIZA, KinAlPASOK) had been in government since 2008, as did Mitsotakis’ New Democracy, and they signed memoranda that turned Greece into a slave colony.

‘Rupture’ is no taboo

MeRA25 has taken a more radical direction since the 2020 party convention: the austerity policy, which guarantees that Greece will starve until at least 2060, can only be changed if a break with the establishment is not ruled out from the outset. In Greek this ‘rupture’ is called “ρήξη” – ríxi.

Wherever MeRA25 presents itself in public, this word also appears. It says that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to restore sovereignty and end austerity.

A while ago, MeRA25 had invited all political forces in the country that classified themselves as progressive left to a dialogue. This has resulted in an alliance with the radical left-wing party ‘LAE‘ (Popular Union – Insubordinate Left) and the inclusion of many public figures in the MeRA25 list of candidates who are not part of a political party.

We are now all together in the election campaign as MeRA25 – Coalition for Rupture.

Neither SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left – Progressive Alliance) nor KinAlPASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement – Movement For Change) nor KKE (Communist Party Greece) were willing to sit down with MeRA25 before the election and agree on common ground. That’s because MeRA25 takes the position that a possible government coalition cannot be formed within the maximum of three days that are available for this according to the electoral law. We say that this short period of time is only enough to hand out ministerial posts and cars, but not to hold detailed talks about how the future government will fight inflation, how it can stop the house and apartment auctions or how it can eliminate the cartel that calls itself the Energy Exchange, how it cuts taxes, and how it tackles many other pressing issues citizens are grappling with. This takes weeks, if not months. The 2021 coalition talks in Germany, for example, lasted 73 days.

On May 21, the strongest party does not get a bonus of 50 seats

A special regulation in the Greek electoral system applied until the last election in 2019. Accordingly, the party with the most votes received an additional bonus of 50 seats. The remaining 250 seats were distributed among the parties according to the share of votes in the elections.

However, the former government under Alexis Tsipras changed the electoral law in this regard. The bonus regulation will therefore no longer apply to the election on May 21, 2023. Mathematically, only a ‘grand coalition’ consisting of New Democracy (ND) and Syriza can achieve an absolute majority. Alternatively, at least three of the other parties would have to agree. However, such alliances are considered to be out of the question. The parties have become too hostile, regardless of their allegedly different political orientations.

Coalition obstacles after May 21

The memoranda they have signed weigh heavily on the three strongest parties, because austerity is making the many poorer and the few richer.

Mitsotakis is aiming for an absolute majority for ND and makes no statements as to whom he would form a coalition with.

One victim of the wiretapping scandal, for which Mitsotakis is personally responsible, was PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis (currently the third-strongest party), along with many other politicians, their families, journalists and at least one high-ranking military representative, and Androulakis therefore rejects Mitsotakis as prime minister but also rejects Syriza’s Tsipras.

In order to get the majority needed for a government, Tsipras had long hoped for a coalition with PASOK and MeRA25, but MeRA25 said no.

The second-smallest far-right party, Elliniki Lysi (Greek Solution), has so far been taboo for all other parties as coalition partner. The Communist Party has traditionally opposed any form of government participation.

Poll results continue to show ND as the strongest party, followed by Syriza at a 4-5 percent gap. But that can change quickly.

The criticism of the ND government weighs heavily. In addition to the wiretapping scandal, ND is also responsible for the Tempi train accident, in which 57 mostly young people died. However, the course for this was set under the Syriza government, which split up the state train company TrainOSE and left the rail network with the state, but sold the trains and their operation to a bankrupt Italian company.

Profit is prioritised over human lives

This type of state-owned enterprise dismemberment is popular with the neoliberals to serve their clientele. The fatal consequences such as the train accident at Tempi are inevitable, because the investments for the necessary safety are not made and the responsibilities are shifted back and forth.

Something like this has also taken place in the energy sector, which has led to an enormous increase in electricity prices.

MeRA25 brings all this up and names those responsible in Parliament. That brought the group spokesman Kleon Grigoriadis a lawsuit from the oligarch Giannis Alafouzos. Despite the embargo, his ships transport Russian oil all over the world while he, as a media mogul, condemns Vladimir Putin.

The hatred from media moguls is a credit to MeRA25

Evangelos Marinakis, another oligarch and also media mogul, has instructed his Mega Channel TV station to uninvite MeRA25 candidate Kleon Grigoriadis, who was invited to a political campaign program in Athens and has now done the same with Michalis Kritharidis, MeRA25 candidate in Salonica. There is a law that obliges broadcasters to provide balanced reporting and to allow all parties to have their say in the election campaign. Marinakis doesn’t care – the responsible institutions are silent, and the other parties aren’t commenting on this scandalous behaviour either. That’s not surprising. He finally forbade the ‘Ta Nea’ newspaper, which he owns, from printing an interview with Yanis Varoufakis that had already been completed. Varoufakis, on behalf of “MeRA25 – Coalition for Rupture”, accused Marinakis of being an enemy of parliamentary democracy and called on all progressives to defend Press freedom.

MeRA25 has fallen out of favour with the other parties as well as with the oligarchs, because we do not remain silent. We also name the politicians responsible, whether they belong to the current government or the previous ones. In addition, MeRA25 repeatedly emphasises that we are not available as a majority procurer for government coalitions and will not tolerate a minority government consisting of parties that will continue the austerity policy.

In our cooperation with LAE and others as MeRA25 – Coalition for Rupture we are confident that the citizens of Greece will take our slogan seriously and actively support us: Everything can be different (Όλα μπορούν να είναι αλλιώς – Óla boroún na eínai alliós)

In this way, our voice will be heard in parliament even louder than in the last term. It will be the voice of the many.

 

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