Jeff Horwich: The Greek election result has so far brought modest relief to financial markets around the world. A victory by the New Democracy party suggests Greece is not headed for a quick and messy exit from the euro. And for now their access to bailout money from the rest of the EU is preserved. But in Greece, at least, they know it’ll take more than that to slog through the next few years.
Greek voter: The issue is not only money. Money you can make. The thing is to bring up yourself. So we need more spirit.
A voter in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.
For more let’s talk to the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens. Good morning Mark.
Mark Lowen: Hi Jeff.
Horwich: Financial markets elsewhere in the world seem a little relieved by the news. So, how about the Greeks? Do they have the spirit to forge ahead here?
Lowen: Well, this was a result that really divided the Greek nation. It was a close victory — a tight victory — for Antonis Samaras of the New Democracy party. So there is very little celebration here, I think. There is relief, to some extent, that a government looks like it can now be formed after the power vacuum of the last few weeks. But there’s also a realization that Greece is in for far more pain; far more austerity; far more cost-cutting ahead.
Horwich: This shorthand description that we’re using for the winners here is that the New Democracy party is the pro-EU bailout, pro-austerity choice. How accurate is that?
Lowen: In basic terms, it is sort of fairly accurate. I mean, Antonis Samaras has said he will pursue the cost-cutting path. But even his party, New Democracy, has said there needs to be a renegotiation of some of the terms; that it’s almost impossible, really — for Berlin, for Brussels, for Paris to stick to the austerity path to the letter.
Horwich: This was not a wide margin of victory for New Democracy. Are the losers just going to drift quietly into the background here and let Greece get on with it?
Lowen: No. I think that the losers — the second party Syriza — is going to present a very, very strong voice of opposition to the cuts. They’ve already said that they will not be silenced. They will, I’m sure, call on more social unrest in the months to come.; we’re probably facing an autumn of discontent here. So it’s not going to be an easy ride for Greece in the weeks and months ahead.
Horwich: Mark Lowen with the BBC in Athens. Thank you very much Mark.
Lowen: Pleasure, Jeff.