20:28 GMT06 May 2021
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    Various experts say that while the left-wing Syriza party could win in the upcoming elections, it is unlikely to bring any major changes to the political arena.

    MOSCOW, January 24 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko, Tosi Ivanova – The left-wing Syriza party has gained popularity among the Greeks, who are tired of austerity measures, but while it could win in the upcoming elections, it is unlikely to bring any major changes to the political arena, various experts have told Sputnik.

    There is "widespread fatigue with austerity measures and the parties of the coalition government" among the Greeks, Roman Gerodimos, Principal Lecturer in Global Current Affairs in the Media School at Bournemouth University and Founder of the Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) of the UK Political Studies Association, told Sputnik Friday.

    "While having succeeded to keep Greece in the Eurozone and on a course of surplus-producing budgets [the parties] have not really articulated a clear or specific vision for the future," Gerodimos explained, juxtaposing the coalition government's positive, but "abstract" message with Syriza's "narrative of hope".

    According to Gerodimos, Syriza's popularity is not an isolated event and is linked to a wave of populist sentiments in Europe.

    "While there are huge differences between various countries and political spaces, Syriza's rise is part of an anti-systemic/anti-establishment wave across many countries of the EU," Gerodimos said.

    The expert claimed that at the heart of such parties as Syriza, UK's UKIP, France's Front National, Spain's Podemos and Germany's AfD, lies "a fundamentally populist rhetoric that frames people as victims of corrupt international elite".

    Gerodimos said that if Syriza wins in the upcoming elections in Greece, "it would send a pretty strong message that the Greek people have really had enough with austerity" and would likely encourage "anti-austerity or anti-systemic parties in other parts of Europe".

    The expert expressed doubt, however, that the win would have any significant impact on "major players", such as the German government and the "Troika" of international creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank, which agreed on a 110 billion euro ($146 billion) bailout package for Greece in 2010 to prevent a default on its large debt.

    Aristides Hatzis, Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Athens, told Sputnik Friday that the rise of Syriza is a result of a crisis, which often creates "monsters" – "nationalistic, racist and anti-European parties".

    "Most of these parties won't have any future. However, they can contaminate mainstream parties and they make permanent damage by marginalizing voters and social classes," Hatzis claimed.

    However, according to Yulie Foka-Kavalieraki, a doctoral candidate at the University of Athens and Co-founder of GreekCrisis.net, Syriza is not an anti-government party per se.


    Do you believe SYRIZA can fix Greek economy?
    • Yes, the EU fears Greece will exit the eurozone, so SYRIZA holds the cards.
      56.8% (715)
    • I don't believe in success of this particular party, but their victory marks the revival of Greece.
      20.0% (251)
    • No, their promises to reduce austerity are utopian and will not be accepted by the 'Troika'.
      14.2% (178)
    • No, nothing good has ever come from radicalism.
      9.0% (113)
    Voted: 1257
    "Syriza and the like-minded parties in the rest of Europe are not exactly anti-government, but rather anti-euro, anti-European and anti-capitalist. I think that the rise of both far-left and far-right-wing populism and nationalism is a phenomenon connected with periods of political instability and economic austerity," Foka-Kavalieraki told Sputnik Friday.

    General elections will be held in Greece on Sunday, January 25, after the country failed to elect a president in the final round of voting in December, and the Greek parliament was dissolved.

    According to recent polls, the left-wing Syriza party is likely to win in the upcoming election, running six percent ahead of the incumbent New Democracy party.

    On Thursday, Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras vowed that if his party secures victory in the election, it would put an end to the widely unpopular austerity measures imposed by EU bankers, including severe budget cuts and tax hikes.

    Although there have been concerns in Europe over the possible exit of Greece from the Eurozone after the opposition force comes to power, Syriza claims Greece would remain an EU member-state. This falls in line with the sentiments among the Greek population. According to the latest polls, almost 76 percent of the country's citizens believe that Greece should stay in the Eurozone.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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