Greek coalition says anti-austerity left alliance necessary

Dimitris Papadimoulis was re-elected as a deputy for Syriza*, the left coalition in Greece, on May 6. He gives his analysis in this interview.

Huma: Syriza has just been charged with forming a government. How will you proceed?

Dimitris Papadimoulis: We’re going to try to translate the voters’ message in favor of a government with a progressive left-wing content. We shall turn to all the political forces except the Nazis of Golden Dawn. Our priority will be the other left forces, those sitting in Parliament and the ecologists and leftists who were unable to enter the Vouli.

Alexis Tsipras [member of the Hellenic Parliament and head of the Syriza parliamentary group] will meet with all the political leaders and will put forward a set of governmental proposals. If there’s agreement, we shall discuss the composition of a government. There cannot be a government guided by austerity and the memorandum; consequently those who voted those measures cannot participate in the government – neither New Democracy [the main center-right party] nor PASOK [the party of Andreas Papandreou].

Huma: The Greek Communist Party (KKE), which is, after Syriza, the main opposition force on the left, has refused [to participate in a government]. What will you do?

Dimitris Papadimoulis: The KKE has always rejected an alliance with Syriza. It has just repeated this. In reality, there are three possibilities. The first one, a strange one, is that PASOK and New Democracy will accord their confidence to a government led by the left, with a leftist program. This would contradict their programs. The second possibility, which is complicated, is a joint government of PASOK, New Democracy and Democratic Left (DIMAR).

The third possibility is that no government can be formed and we shall have new elections in mid-June. We shall seize this historic opportunity to present a package which does not concern only social and economic questions, but also the electoral laws, the independence of the judicial branch… We shall persevere that a left alliance may come into existence. We have a new argument: the people’s vote.

Huma: Many abroad say that the “anti-Europeans” have won. What do you say to that?

Dimitris Papadimoulis: The austerity measures and the new accords with the troika are a way of preparing a return to the drachma [the unit of Greek currency that was replaced by the euro in 2001]. We therefore not only demand changes in Greece, but also in Europe, the abandoning of this neo-con approach. The Party of the European Left is also putting forward similar proposals. We aren’t anti-European, but we are against Europe as it presently exists.

Original French article: Syriza « Il faut une alliance de gauche, anti-austérité »

Translated May 29 by Gene Zbikowski.

*PW Editor’s note: According to Wikipedia, Syriza is an acronym for the Greek words meaning “Coalition of the Radical Left.” The coalition includes democratic socialists, greens, Maoist, Trotskyist and eurocommunist organizations.

 Photo: At the 2012 May Day protest in Athens. Banner reads ”No”. In debt-crippled Greece, people marched through central Athens protesting the country’s harsh austerity program. Thanassis Stavrakis/AP