Greece Votes, Again
The two candidates, shown to be neck and neck in the race by opinion polls leading up to the election, could not be more different.
Bloomberg Business Week broke down a profile of the two political candidates, Conservative New Democracy party candidate Antonis Samaras and the Radical Leftist Syriza party candidate Alexis Tsipras:
“Samaras, 61, broadly upholds Greece's bailout commitments but wants them diluted through a two-year extension, until 2016. He has pledged to cut tax rates and boost the income of low-earning pensioners, large families, farmers, police and fighter pilots. He wants to 'retake' Greek cities from illegal migrants and scrap laws granting citizenship to second-generation immigrants."
Samaras has said that voting between him and Tsipras is the choice between staying in the euro or reverting to the country’s old currency, the drachma.
While Samaras’ party won in the first election, on May 6, the party won inconclusively with just under 19 percent of the vote. Syriza, Tsipras' party got second, with 16.8 percent of the vote.
Tsipras, 37, is the country's youngest party head. He is a civil engineer and was previously a student activist, Bloomberg reported:
"A mainstay of the anti-austerity movement, Tsipras has alarmed many in Greece and abroad by saying he wants to scrap Greece's bailout deals, nationalize banks, restore drastically reduced pensions and salaries, and cancel plans to sack 150,000 civil servants. Nevertheless, he backs Greece's cherished position in the European Union and the eurozone, and maintains that the country can stay within both groups even if it reneges on its austerity commitments."
Some in Greece said they feel that neither candidate has their interests at heart. The New York Times featured an Op-Ed by Nikos Konstandaras, the managing editor and a columnist at the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini who expressed his displeasure in both parties:
None of these parties have advanced a serious agenda to avoid disaster. Those who are deeply in debt — or who aspire to gain at the expense of others — hope that the economy’s slate will simply be wiped clean. Those who have stashed their money abroad will be able to buy assets on the cheap if Greece leaves the euro zone. But the people who work hard and pay taxes, who have a stake in reform and progress, who carry the burden of every mistake, have no credible representative to vote for.
However, there is another concern to be considered: that neither party may take control. Another run off is also a possibility, the Guardian reported, pointing out that in Greece, a party needs to gain control of roughly 36 to 43 percent of the popular vote to control an absolute majority in parliment on its own, "something that is looking unlikely today."
However, even if a clear majority is found, the Wall Street Journal reported that it might not be enough to reassure the world that Greece is on track to reform:
"No number of polls will spell political stability for Greece unless Athens can show the credible commitment to reform that the Greek establishment has dodged for decades."
Read more Neon Tommy Coverage on Greece here.
Reach Executive Producer Jackie Mansky here.