Marina Yannakoudakis is a Member of the European Parliament for London. Follow Marina on Twitter.
Six weeks ago, I wrote an article for Conservative Home about the fallout from the French and Greek elections. Today we find ourselves in a familiar situation. The French have rallied round socialists who promise a “pro-growth” agenda and the majority of Greeks have voted against harsh conditions imposed on them by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
A narrow win for pro-bailout New Democracy does not disguise the fact that 50% of Greeks voted for parties who promised to tear up the austerity memorandum. Alexis Tsirpas is the motorcycle-riding poster boy for those who wish to cancel the deal drawn up by Brussels and the IMF. He may have failed to top the ballot and win the 50 additional seats that is the prize for plurality, but together with the four other parties opposed to the bailout, anti-austerity candidates won a majority of the votes.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras – the favoured candidate of German Chancellor Angela Merkel – recognised this when he called for a grand coalition, or, as he put it, “a national salvation government”. National salvation is an interesting choice of words, not least when New Democracy’s campaign mirrored that of William Hague in 2001. Indeed Samaras’ slogan for the election could easily have been “Ten days to save the euro”.