September 03, 2015

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The decline and fall of Alexis Tsipras

Only two weeks ago newspapers wrote that Alexis Tsipras is the only charismatic leader in the game and sure to win. How fast this has changed! A first poll now shows New Democracy leading. A GPO poll shows that Syriza would receive 25% of the votes, just behind New Democracy with 25.3%, with 13% still undecided, Reuters reports. Anther poll by Alco shows Syriza still ahead with 23% but only marginally with New Democracy at 22.6%. While these polls are to be read with caution, there is no denial that the dynamics has changed against Tsipras and that support for Syriza has shrivelled. Instead of conveying the image of a statesman, Tsipras looks tired and aged, comments Stathis Kalyvas @SKalyvas. Subjects like the refugee crisis and eduction could easily arouse people's anger against the previous government, while in the austerity debate Syriza will find it hard to portray itself as a party which can deliver better results than others. A lead story in Kathimerini today suggests that though there are 25,000 teachers to be replaced, there are only funds to hire 13,000 with long delays in recruitment - all because of decisions taken by the Syriza government. 

The GPO/@MegaGegonota poll also tells us that Tsipras' popularity has dropped while that of Evangelos Meimarakis has risen. With 28.8% Tsipras is now only slightly ahead of Meimarakis with 27.1% when it comes to the question who can handle best the MoU agreement. 30% said neither of them. A majority of 66.7% find that snap elections were not necessary in the first place. 

Three parties - Laos, Teleia and Papandreou’s party - decided not to run in this election, according to Kathimerini. Papandreou's decision not to run marks the end of a dynasty, with three generations of his family running in general elections since 1920, remarks Macropolis. For New Democracy and Pasok fewer parties are good news, as they are likely to benefit from those votes while Syriza votes are being split. 

KT Greece offers a thought-provoking comment. After Ottmar Issing argued that Grexit might help Greece, and Lafanzanis' open support for the return to the Drachma, the blog concludes that Germany might as well support Popular Unity in the elections. The only problem is the nationalisation of the banks, also at the top of Lafanzanis' agenda.   

The eurogroup meeting September 12 will decide whether the Greek elections will lead to a postponement of the bailout review, writes To Vima. Initially the review was scheduled for October, but this could well drag on until November especially if there is no clear winner in the general elections preventing the quick formation of a government.  There is also a decision to be taken on what the prerequisites are for the next tranche of €3bn to be disbursed. The article says the tranche could well be split in two subtranches for October and November with different requirements attached. Poul Thomson from the IMF said that a postponement of the assessment should not impact on the debt relief talks which is crucial for the decision of the IMF's decision to participate. Without the next tranche, the Greek government would not have enough money to pay back the IMF in December/January according to this article. Also, recapitalisation of the Greek banks needs to finish by January 1st 2016 when the new EU directive on bail-ins is to kick in.

Our other stories

We also have stories on Greek privatisation, on today's ECB press conference, on the latest in the raw between Italy and the European Commission over future fiscal policy, on Spain's social security data, and on the deep causes behind the global slowdown.

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