Greece just secured enough votes to pass a harsh €13.5 billion austerity package that will attempt to bring down its massive public debt. Greece would not have received the next tranche of bailout aid it needs to stay solvent without approving the austerity package, which was pre-approved by euro area leaders.
Everyone from Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to the hundreds of thousands of Greek protesters who’ve taken to the street as part of a two-day general strike understand that these measures have been dictated by European rather than Greek leadership. The “troika”—the European Central Bank, European heads of state, and the European Commission—has stripped Greece of much of its sovereignty. Samaras called some of the measures “unfair” but nonetheless pushed through the new law.
What’s more, any members of Parliament who were part of the ruling coalition but voted against the austerity package were immediately expelled from their parties. True, that’s the way parliamentary democracy works. But this does severely dampen the level of opposition within the ruling party leadership, meaning that fewer Greek viewpoints are being represented.
There may have been no other solution to keeping Greece solvent, but at what cost?