Sources in Athens were convinced this afternoon that elements within the EU/IMF/Berlin Troika were behind a flood of media articles in Greece over the last two days concerning the probable need for a ‘compromise’ candidate for Prime Minister in the likely event of a dead-heat election on May 6th. The emerging name is that of New Democracy Vice-President Stavros Dimas (above)…a former Wall Street banker and EU Commissioner.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is now widely felt in Greece to be unlikely to become Prime Minister. News reports have suggested that the opposition PASOK Socialists will demand an alternate leader – Stavros Dimas: a very conveniently Troika-friendly choice.
“This is partly the work of Evangelo Venizelos,” says an Athenian source whose tips have been accurate in the past. “And of course, as we have seen, he is in the Troika’s pocket. He sees a possibility of losing his grip on power, and I would imagine also his access to corrupt EU wealth, if Samaris takes charge and immediately starts to repudiate the Brussels Accord [the bailout agreement]. Whether it is entirely his idea is doubtful. I think he has a line open to Brussels all the time. He is their man, totally.”
While infuential newspaper Kathemerini explains today that ‘the pulverization of the party political scene in Greece is raising concerns ahead of what appears to be the most crucial general election of the last few decades’, it is short on who has those concerns.
“Isn’t it strange?” asks another source, “concerns are expressed, although not by the Greek voters themselves….and look whose name falls into the ring – Stavros Dimas. What a farce. These people think we are children.”
Dimas is currently serving in the Papademos government. Significantly, the two major parties are rapidly losing ground to parties opposed to the austerity measures PASOK and New Democracy support…although there have always been doubts about the sincerity of Samaris in particular. The second source above continues:
“It is all totally predictable. Those really running Greece see the anti-Troika Parties gaining ground, and a decent chance of Samaris being in charge of the biggest Party and so becoming Prime Minister. So doubt is immediately sown about both these developments, and the chaos we will suffer as a result. The only thing these snakes have left as a weapon is fear. The majority of corrupt politicians fear that their nice life is at an end, and the ordinary Greek has a terror of leaving the eurozone. So this is the result. I cannot say I am surprised at all.”
Samaras has also said he would reject a coalition administration, but has nevertheless been a bit yes and no about it. In many ways he is right to be equivocal: with perhaps nine Parties likely to win seats in the new Parliament, it is impossible at the moment to foresee all the possibilities. But I understand that Samaris would welcome a Coalition without PASOK.
“Ideally, Samaris would like to get a Coalition with the smaller Parties, and freeze PASOK out,” says a cosmopolitan Athenian media commentator not keen to be named. “It is obvious Venizelos sniffs this in the wind, and so he has probably been whining to his Troika friends. Or they feared this too and spoke to him…who can tell any more? The abuse of our democracy and laws by these people will have no end, because once they let go, they know it is the end for them too. They have neither shame nor finesse.”
If Dimis is appointed, it would mean that Greeks will once more have a Prime Minister for whom they didn’t vote. Dimas, 70, had what one source calls “a suspiciously ill-defined role to do with the environment” before becoming Foreign Minister in the Papademos administration…a key role when the country is being run by, um, foreigners. Seen by many as a shadowy figure, he is an American-trained Wall Street banker and former EU Commissioner. He is, therefore, very clearly the most Troika-friendly man in the Government.