quinta-feira, 3 de setembro de 2015

Alexis through the looking-glass world of Greek politics

Ainda é cedo pra fazer previsões sobre o resultado das eleições gregas. Tsipras ainda é muito popular, mas o seu partido nem tanto. Um governo de união nacional parece ser a melhor opção, mas isto está longe de ser uma tarefa fácil.  A pressão europeia( nos bastidores) será fundamental pra a formação de um governo estável e  em condições de implementar as reformas necessárias à retomada do crescimento na Grecia. Emoções à vista. 

In the looking-glass world of Greek debt politics, everything changes from one year to the next and everything stays the same. Consider the snap election that takes place on September 20, hard on the heels of the country’s third financial rescue in five years. Latest opinion polls indicate that Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the leftwing Syriza party and former prime minister who triggered the election in a bid to strengthen his grip on power, is at risk of defeat. Yet will it matter? Whatever the result, the ravaged economy will remain suffocated by the same fog of illusions that enshrouds relations with its creditors.

Everything changed when Syriza took office in January on a wave of support for overturning the orthodoxies of eurozone financial and economic policy. After months of helter-skelter rule, and after breaking with his party’s dogmatic ultra-leftist faction, Mr Tsipras still finds it hard to suppress his distaste for these orthodoxies.

Yet everything is the same because Syriza signed up in July for a €86bn bailout from its European creditors. The government accepted a trade-off between financial aid and internationally supervised domestic reform — just as its centre-left, technocratic and centre-right predecessors did between 2010 and 2014. Mr Tsipras even relied on the parliamentary support of his centre-left and centre-right adversaries to legitimise the bailout. Hard-pressed Greeks can be excused for asking why it is necessary to elect a new parliament for the fifth time since October 2009, and what practical difference it will make to their lives if they vote for Syriza or any of its mainstream rivals.

Everything is different because the third bailout has removed the threat, dangled in July by Germany, that Greece might be suspended from the eurozone — a possible prelude to Grexit, or permanent exit. The bailout is intended to last until 2018, eliminating for three years the risk that Greece might default on repayments to its European lenders and the International Monetary Fund.

Yet everything is the same because, in the make-believe world inhabited by Greece and its European creditors, everyone pretends the next government in Athens — whatever its political complexion — and the Greek public administration at all levels will carry out re­forms as required. This lets the creditors pretend to their voters, as they have done since the first, €110bn, bailout of May 2010, that Greece will repay its loans in full. It helps Greek politicians defend themselves against the accusation they have hoodwinked other European governments into supplying a constant flow of funds in return for nothing.

Make-believe politics reached its apogee two weeks ago when Martin Selmayr, chief aide to Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, tweeted that the snap election was a good move because it might broaden domestic support for the new rescue programme. Actually, the campaign points to deep political uncertainty and perhaps even yet another election.

Support for Syriza is draining faster than euros from Greek bank ac­counts before the introduction in June of capital controls. Any hope Mr Tsipras had of winning an outright parliamentary majority has vanished. According to an opinion poll on Wednesday, Syriza has even fallen slightly behind the centre-right opposition New Democracy party.

Greece faces one of two prospects. The first is a Syriza-led government, in which the dominant party must work with coalition partners it dislikes to im­plement a foreign-imposed reform programme it dislikes even more. The second is a New Democracy-led government, made up of parties that were largely responsible for the mess and have shown little capacity to clean it up.

One way or another, the uncertainty created by the election will stall reforms, delay debt relief, threaten recovery and resurrect the spectre of Grexit. If this sounds like a record you have heard before, you are right.

Tony Barber

Fonte: FT