Monday 5 November 2012

Greeks struggle for new MOU

It is November, barely hours before the most important elections in the world and guess who is making ripples once more. Yes you guessed right, Greek politicians. It is not Obama or the American elections but the completely unknown entity of Mr Roupakiotis, Minister for justice of the Hell.Republic. This morning Mr Roupakiotis refused to place his signature in the new MOU to be presented to the parliament. Without his signature the Greek government could not go to the parliament. Thankfully he was persuaded to change his deranged mind and everything is apparently, back on track.

But this is a sign of the times. Greece is literally hanging by the thinnest of threads. One false move and it is over. Currently the government consists of three parties that were supposed to form a coalition in order to exorcise the exit scenario. Instead we have one more of the same. Delays upon delays and political posturing to the last second.

The plot has as follows:
Greece needs to vote this Wednesday the new MOU that was agreed with the Troika. This is a tough one. It contains most of the things that Troika demanded back in 2010 but was never implemented. So in a way it is two years of reforms concentrated in a bill with only one article. The government ordered one only article so that the MPs would not have the luxury of voting some and refusing others. It is all or none. Democracy is not supposed to work that way but the best of Greek inventions is for “Export only”. Domestically they do things differently.

Byzantine politics and arithmetic

The voting arithmetic is as follows. The three parties ND (127), PASOK (32) and DHMAR(17) have 176 deputies after the recent defections. The magic number is 151 if all 300 MPs are present on the day (or night) of voting. Recently many MPs from PASOK and DHMAR voiced their reluctance to vote in favor. If DHMAR refuses to vote YES but is present in the proceedings then ND+PASOK would have to get at least 151. Currently this is achievable but with no more defections. If on the other hand DHMAR chooses to LEAVE (i.e. go for coffee and baklava) then 142 YES’s are enough for the bill to pass.

So given the state of affairs chances are that the new MOU would be voted in. The next hurdle is this Sunday 11th when the budget for 2013 is up for voting. Contingent on the MOU being passed I do not see any problems with the budget this coming Sunday. There is the risk of some serious social unrest this week as a general strike has been declared and usually it culminates in violence. But neither SYRIZA nor the fascists want the government to fall at this stage. They prefer to sit back and enjoy the total self-destruction of the coalition. They know that their time would come soon.

Even though there is a lot of noise coming from Greece and there are many risks still present, chances are that the government would pass these parliamentary hurdles. It is also the case that Troika would release the 31billion promised plus the next installment. The big bet is whether the government would survive the winter.