The pro-austerity New Democracy party edged out the anti-austerity SYRIZA party in Sunday’s Greek Parliamentary elections. However – New Democracy didn’t pick up enough seats to a have a majority in government and thus must cobble together a coalition government with other parties.
But the SYRIZA party – which came in second and is staunchly opposed to more austerity, has rejected calls from New Democracy to form a coalition government. As part of the bailout agreement – Greece must raise more than 15 billion euros in revenue by selling off its commons, cutting budgets, and laying off about 150,000 government workers. But in order to form a coalition government – the New Democracy Party may be forced to renegotiate these terms.
Meanwhile in France – Parliamentary election gave the Socialists a big victory over the weekend. Now in control of both chambers of Parliaments and the Presidency – French Socialists plan to soften the German-led austerity drive around Europe, raise taxes on wealthy people and corporations, and put more people back to work with stimulus spending.
So even though Greece fell just short of striking the first major blow to the technocrat’s European austerity agenda – France succeeded and for the first time since the global economy went into a meltdown in 2007 – austerity isn’t the only option on the table anymore.