'Only Ray of Hope in This Bleak Setting': As Greek Right Regains Power, Applause as Varoufakis-Led MeRA25 Wins First-Ever Seats in Parliament

September 12, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

There were few reasons for progressives in Greece to celebrate Sunday as the right-wing New Democracy Party cruised to a resounding snap election victory—ousting the Syriza government that has long been condemned for betraying its anti-austerity mandate—but one “silver lining” was the strong performance of the nascent leftist party MeRA25, founded by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.

MeRA25, the Greek arm of the European DiEM25 movement, won nine seats in Greece’s parliament, far exceeding expectations and allowing Varoufakis to head what one observer described as a “small but credible left-wing opposition.”

In a video message following Sunday’s election, Varoufakis vowed to fight both the “inane establishment which continues to implement socialism for the bankers and harsh austerity for everyone else” and “the fascists, the euroskeptics, those who want to deconstruct Europe” in his party’s campaign against the crippling austerity Greeks have endured for over a decade.

“Our electoral wing in Greece performed an amazing feat today,” said Varoufakis. “We’re here to implement in practice our constructive disobedience, our European internationalism. We have a remarkable opportunity to break down this wall of silence, the troika-heavy and troika-dominated politics of this land, indeed of this Europe.”

Varoufakis, who resigned from the Syriza government in 2015,  took direct aim at outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for paving the way for the rise of the New Democracy Party, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

New Democracy’s victory, Varoufakis wrote on his website, was “set in motion” the night of the Greek people’s 2015 “no” vote against bailout terms proposed by the so-called European troika, composed of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank.