(Journal Article) Averting a chaotic default on the exorbitant public debt continued to be the overriding issue in Greece during 2011. For the same reason, the country retained worldwide importance and attention, since the spectre of a Greek default continued to undermine confidence in the euro and to haunt global markets.
The wave of increasingly violent and anomic behaviour also continued to sweep the country, despite particular police successes like the dismantling of the new terrorist group (‘Nuclei of Fire’) responsible for a series of package bombs the previous year. In January, a protracted local revolt by the town of Keratea, southeast of Athens, involved unprecedented violence against the police and eventually nullified longstanding plans for a waste-processing plant. Neither radical nor destitute, otherwise conservative people were allowed to go on a rampage in defence of conservative interests subsumed under the slogan ‘Not in My Backyard’ (NIMBY for short). The same was to happen in July, when protesting taxicab owners surpassed even the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in disrupting ports and airports, deliberately making life difficult for tourists and thereby undermining the country’s least hopeless industry: tourism.
A novel form of protest – encouraged or even organised by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the KKE – was the refusal to pay tolls on highways or tickets on public transportation, often with violence against machines, employees and law-abiding citizens. Another novel movement appeared in imitation of the Indignados in Spain and occupied Syntagma Square in front of the parliament building for protracted periods.
For its part, the Papandreou government went from crisis to crisis in its dealings with the ‘troika’ (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, European Commission) with respect to the loan of €110 billion provided to Greece in May 2010 according to the conditions set out in the ‘Memorandum’ (Mavrogordatos & Mylonas 2011: 986). In February 2011, the mere mention by the troika’s representatives of required privatisations to the tune of €50 billion provoked an explosive reaction against the ‘sale of the country’ also on the part of Papandreou himself and his ministers. The troika’s representatives were not to hold a press conference in Greece again.
Nevertheless, the irresistible and vertiginous decline of Papandreou’s popularity and support for the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) continued. […]
European Journal of Political Research Political Data Yearbook, Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 122–128, December 2012
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