Greece’s new government has been sounding strangely like its defeated anti-austerity opponents since it came to power this week on a pledge to remain in the euro zone and uphold its commitments to foreign creditors.
Having campaigned as the best leader to reassure European partners that Greece would be a reliable partner, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has spent the days since Sunday’s election promising to revise a bailout deal painfully hammered out as recently as March.
Despite a barrage of warnings from European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande that Greece had to respect its commitments fully, the winning parties obviously feel they cannot ignore the uncompromising message from angry Greek voters.
Samaras’s centre-right New Democracy party may have won Sunday’s election but his margin of victory over the leftist Syriza party, which campaigned against the bailout, was extremely narrow and the memory of violent anti-austerity protests which shook Athens last year are still fresh.
“Parties were forced to adjust to people’s demands which is why we saw some parties with a strong pro-bailout character changing their stance in the pre-election period and becoming more anti-bailout,” said Thomas Gerakis, head of Marc pollsters.