Tsipras urges .No. vote for Greece Greek Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras makes impassioned speech at rally in Sytnagma Square, urging the nation to vote .No. in Sunday's referendum Get the latest ...
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The Greek people voted overwhelmingly in a referendum held on July 5 they "had nothing to lose" by rejecting new austerity from the troika of the EU, ECB and the IMF.
Prior to that vote Prime Minister Alexei Tsipras urged them to do just that.
On Friday he betrayed the peoples vote. He put forth a new austerity package of reduced pensions, higher taxes and reduced government spending which the Greek parliament approved-although there was some defections even from his own Syriza party while opposition parties excoriated Tsipras. On Friday evening there was a small demonstration in Athens protesting the reversal of the "No" vote. A twitter feed had people wondering what was the point of the referendum with one commenter writing, "And this whole time I thought it it was Merkel who was bluffing."
In the end the new austerity package was essentially what the troika had been demanding all along and this morning they approved it with Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council saying it brings "serious reforms and "financial support" to Greece. It's clear only the Greek people "had nothing to lose"; not so Tsipras.
So, one may ask how could he do this?
First off he's a politician. And the first rule of a politician is to sacrifice integrity for expediency. In this case the expediency of new austerity measures that he presented as a "reform " package to the Greek people and the "best he could get". When Tsipras needed to be the transformational character he presented himself to be to the people and fully embrace his peoples explicit "NO" rejecting austerity, when push came to shove, he caved before his European creditors.
It remains to be seen with this new austerity package placed on the backs of the people which most assuredly will create more economic hardship-the case over the last 5 years-whether he'll remain as the PM. He did say he'd resign if his austerity package was rejected by the Greek parliament.
For now they went along, rationalizing I suppose even if it's a bad deal Tsipras did challenge his creditors.
As for the Greek people battered under crippling austerity these past 5 years and now betrayed by its PM whether their "NO" vote against austerity will still resonate, force Tsipras to call for new elections and someone will emerge with the backbone to follow the will of the people.
At this point we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out.