Back in May of 1998, Manhattan Theater Club (MTC) in NY cancelled the scheduled production of the three-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi play, prompted by anonymous telephone threats to burn down the prolific theater and kill its staff and the playwright. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights that was already campaigning against the play for blasphemy, disavowed responsibility for the phone-calls. Those developments swiftly sparked outrage in the artistic community over the religious group’s intimidation and MTC’s administration for backing off and not standing firm.
Say hello to a new era where PASOK’s ability to rule with a comfortable parliamentary advantage is over. With the repudiation of austerity policies at the ballot box, it saw its vote plummeting from 43.9% in the last elections to 13.2%. “PASOK is rotten” said its leader -Evangelos Venizelos- to his aides, highlighting the need for readjustment as many of those sustaining the party’s state electoral clientèle -nurtured by favoritism, contracts, and subventions- seem to “abandon the ship”. With perks cutbacks under the bailout agreements, high-profile members of major trade union bodies cut ties with the party, while others move around on the political spectrum, seeking shelter with hints of electoral success.
There was media frenzy over fruitless coalition talks and the “last-ditch efforts” to form the so-called “government of prominent personalities”. Following Papademos leadership, the option of having unelected technocrats in government again, was under consideration. With the tyranny of pragmatism enslaving politics and society, fully trained economists are seen more competent to spot the right policies. They are supposed to have the skills and experience to ensure successful execution of EU guidelines and maintain effectiveness in a financial environment of ambiguity. Is there any clear evidence to support that? The euro for instance, was launched without significant political institutions behind it, which was not proved to be very clever. However the prospect of a second round of elections, was expected to bring havoc anyway. Under edgy circumstances, voting -the backbone of democracy- is considered lethal. No need to wonder which section of society might feel threatened when people have their say for their own matters. Apparently a caretaker prime minister took over until elections in June, with a possible “Grexit” making headlines at the moment.
With more than two years of cuts, layoffs, unemployment and…suicides’ rising toll, Greeks expressed their resentment over the political establishment yesterday, in what appeared to be one of the most low-key general elections. There were no massive rallies, not excessive use of promotional material whilst for the first time, socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy avoided setting up in public space their pre-election campaign kiosks, in case passersby attempt to destroy them.
From the beginning, it appeared unlikely for any political party to win a majority. Some believe that the election results officially dropped the final curtain on polity, the time period from 1974 onward, where PASOK and New Democracy succeeded each other in power. With many voters backing small parties and left-wing Syriza achieving its best result ever with sweeping gains in constituencies that traditionally belonged to rivals, there is a merit on that assumption.