Moving towards Green, in Greece

Kennedy Graham, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The New Zealand Green Party welcomes the election victory of Syriza in Greece — a cross-party coalition that includes the Greek Green Party.

On 25 January, Syriza won Greece’s parliamentary election with 36 percent of the votes. That translates into 149 out of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament, including 50 bonus seats for being the largest party. Greek voters have decisively changed the political tide away from the previous conservative government’s cuts to public services and towards public investment values. This signifies what may become a shift in fiscal and monetary policy across Europe and beyond.

This is a major win for Greek citizens who have suffered enormously under austerity policies focused on placing banks ahead of the Greek people. Under recent public funding cuts, Greece’s GDP contracted by 25 percent, unemployment rose above 25 percent, real wages fell by 30 percent and industrial output declined by 35 percent. The human cost has been immeasurable; homelessness has sky-rocketed, primary healthcare has collapsed, soup kitchens have multiplied. Child mortality has increased.

Syriza and the Greek Greens aim to reduce unemployment through public programmes that provide food, housing, electricity and greater protection for the environment. Syriza’s approach to balancing the budget will be through boosting public investment, not cutting it.

These policies are not radical, they are common sense. They open a fresh path for change, one that is much-needed across Europe.

The Green political movement around the planet is experiencing a similar upsurge in public support:

  • This month, the British Green Party membership has surged to 50,000, up from 15,000 only a year ago, making it the third-largest British political party in terms of membership.
  • In Germany, in the last state elections in Baden-Württemberg, the Greens scored their all-time best state election result, leading the government and winning the post of Premier.
  • In the same year the Canadian Green Party gained a federal Member of Parliament for the first time.

And now Greek citizens have chosen leadership that is Green-oriented to revitalise the country’s economy, society and politics.

The international community should support this bold change, work constructively with Greece’s new government and get ready for Greece’s success to inspire citizens globally to vote Green.

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