World markets and perhaps especially the members of the European monetary union are watching Greece very closely.
The country is voting on a new Parliament today, after a previous election left parliament deadlocked with no clear winner and without a coalition.
As The New York Times puts it, the parliamentary election is being seen as a referendum on the Euro. It could very well decide whether Greece remains in the union and continues to receive EU bailout funds, or departs the union throwing its own economy and potentially that of the world into an unknown and very tenuous place.
The voters have two main choices: On the left is Syriza, whose leader Alexis Tsipras has threatened to reneged on Greece’s bailout deal with Europe. On the right is New Democracy and its leader Antonis Samaras, who favors renegotiating the EU deal.
As NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports for Weekend Edition Sunday, there are a lot of unknowns about this election. It could turnout that, like happened in the previous election, there is no clear winner and the country will have to try again to form a coalition.
But one thing is certain, said Sylvia: The country is hurting.
Sylvia spoke to 35-year-old Theodore Pitsikas while he stood in line at a poll.
“I have three children,” he said. “And I don’t have milk to feed them.”
Pitsikas is voting for Syriza.
But Sylvia says this is a tough issue for many Greeks. Many of them are scared of what could happen if Syriza wins a majority and bailout funds stop flowing.
“The electorate is split on this issue and it’s not a left, right line, but a generational line and urban vs. rural,” said Sylvia. “At the closing of the New Democracy rally the crowd was mostly elderly, many were bused in from outside Athens and at Syriza’s closing rally the crowd was urban and young.
“In any case, the EU and the markets are going to have to come to terms with the fact that both sides in Greece say the bailout deal has not worked and it is more damaging than helpful and must be changed.”
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