‘New Greek government – not result of popular pressure’

Thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets of Athens in a warning to new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos. But this new government is not the result of popular pressure, says Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at Athens University.

Masked youngsters threw firebombs at police outside parliament and the US Embassy on Thursday. The march also marked the anniversary of an uprising against the US-backed military junta of the 1970s. And this time Greeks used it to protest against what they call an “austerity junta”, represented by the new cabinet.

Professor Varoufakis says that while on the one hand Greece remains a liberal democracy, on the other hand, “It also true that Greece has lost its national sovereignty, just like it had under the dictatorship of 1967 and 1974.

“But there is also an extremely dangerous wrinkle: the latest governmental change has brought into power rather an interesting coalition – the Socialist Party, the Conservative Party, but also a third one, which is an extreme right-wing movement . That movement contains remnants of the old junta, its dictatorship, admires that junta. There are people who in the past declared themselves neo-fascists,” he said.

Varoufakis also noted that it was more the EU than the people of Greece who actually made the old government step down.

“The new government is not a result of popular pressure. It is true that the electorate has lost confidence in the previous government, but it is also true that they lost confidence in the whole political spectrum – the whole of the political personnel has lost legitimacy in Greece. The reason why we have this government is because it was demanded by the European Central Bank and the European Commission,” he said.

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