According to exit polls the leftist party Syriza clearly won the Greek elections
Two exit polls show Syriza with a 12.5 percentage point lead over nearest party, New Demoracy.
update a bit more:
One poll suggested Syriza took 35.5% of the votes, and the other suggested it took 39.5%, well ahead of the ruling New Democracy party on 23%-27%
update: Some official results. I think (hope) this page updates. H/T Matt O’Brien @ObsoleteDogma .
final update: with 99.7% reporting Syriza is not yet completely officially awarded 149 of 300 seats. No wonder it was hard to predict if they would get an absolute majority. They need to form a coalition with one other party. Any party which won over 3% of the vote will do (including the Greek communist party which still exists).
Exit polls are not actual vote counts. In particular it is not possible to know if Syriza will win an absolute majority or have to form a coaltion with some centrist party.
The exit polls are more dramatic than pre-election polls were.
This is important news for all Europeans especially Southern Europeans. The election is a repudiation of austerity. Commands from the European Commission (and the IMF and the European Central Bank) have been met with grumbling but obeyed.
Beyond that, the European left has been apologetic for decades. The position seems to me to be that, yes we need to cut social welfare spending and deregulate the labor market. But the right of center parties want to do a bit too much. In fact, labor market deregulation (mostly making it less extremely difficult to fire people) has mostly been enacted by center left governments.
An outspoken unapologetic left with massive support seems very new, although it was typical of ,at least, the first four post war decades.
I don’t want to try to guess what will happen next. A new Syriza lead government will try to renegotiate Greek debt payments with official lenders, who have mostly taken the risk from foolish banks already. They will resist very strongly. Partly this is a matter of ordo-principle. Partly, they know Spain will be next (and what about Italy?). I am sure there are many people whose assent is needed who wouldn’t mind making an example of Greece.
It is also too bad that there will have to be focus on debt renegotiation when, for the rest of the Eurobloc, the issue is stimulus and price level misalignment. The rest of the rest of Europe has to ask Germans to make the sacrifice of paying lower taxes, and, if they are very generous, accepting higher wages. High profile high tension negotiations with a Syriza government will make it even harder to communicate this to ordinary Germans (and it is currently impossible).
Still, I think it is better to struggle than to surrender to horrible poverty in the name of austerity. I congratulate the Greeks on what I perceive to be their good judgment.
” First we take Athens …….. then we take Berlin ! ”
( apologies to Leonard Cohen )