Saturday 2 April 2016

Greece. The country with the half Drachma

Published in LSE Hellenic Observatory Blog

A Greek version was published on Kathimerini
Few days after the introduction of the bank capital controls and with thousands of pensioners queuing up outside the bank branches, the prime-minister’s office received a research on the effect of the capital controls on the electorate. The data disclosed were very surprising even counter-intuitive. It was apparent that the closing of the banks had a very small negative effect.

For sure, this was interpreted by the close advisors to the PM as a strong indication of the resilience, and support the people showed towards the negotiation tactics and also on the personal charisma and aura of the prime-minister Mr. Tsipras.

There is no doubt, that hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of people, owed money to banks and this made many indifferent, some even having intense feelings of schadenfreude. Equally true was the huge support that Syriza government enjoyed at the time with record approval ratings of more than 70%. However, the small negative reaction may have rather different causes.