December 24, 2014
This month the presidential elections will take place in two Balkan countries: Croatia and Greece. The electoral systems in these two countries are different, but what they have in common is the clear presence of a political alternative to the hegemonic US-NATO Empire. This is yet another sign that the people of the region are beginning to resist and reject the imperial grip and are in the process of making possible a different, more autonomous political future.
The elections in Croatia will take place on December 28. They will be the sixth presidential elections since Croatia separated from the Yugoslav Federation and became an independent state in 1992. So far there have been only three presidents: the nationalist Franjo Tudjman (1992-1999), the ex-Communist functionary Stipe Mesić (2000-2010) and the current president, law professor and composer Ivo Josipović (2010-). Josipović is also one of the candidates in the current elections. Both of his predeccesors were able to get the second mandate.
The incumbent Josipović, who is nominally an independent but is supported by the ruling Social-Democrat party (SDP) of the prime minister Zoran Milanović, has three challengers. The challenger who comes from the main opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), is Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. She is the “picture-perfect” candidate of the US-NATO Empire. She was the Croatian minister of foreign affairs during the key preparatory work for NATO membership (2005-2008), the Croatian ambassador to the U.S (2008-2011) and, most recently, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Democracy. She is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and hence an accomplice in the US-centric neoliberal domination of the globe. In fact, it is precisely her election results that will show the present strength of the unipolar conception of the world in the Balkans.
The second challenger is the medical doctor Milan Kujundžić, the founder of the party Croatian Dawn, an extreme nationalist party to the right of the mainstream conservative HDZ. The emergence of this party is consistent with the populist-rightist trend in the European Union, which offers what are, in essence, false solutions to the very real social problems caused by neoliberal economic policies. These solutions are false because the real culprits for the crisis remain veiled and protected while others, who are likewise victims (immigrants, minorities, etc.), are vilified and attacked.
This serious political mistake of taking the effect for the cause is exactly what the third challenger Ivan Vilibor Sinčić does not make and that is why he is, in my opinion, the most progressive and humanist candidate in the elections. Sinčić is the 25-year old leader of a grassroot organization “Živi zid” (the literal translation is the “human wall” or “human shield”), which has become widely popular in Croatia due to their actions of helping fight the numerous evictions and other abuses of human and social rights of ordinary citizens. It is very important to note that Sinčić’s organization is entirely locally funded and depends on the work of volunteers. His geopolitical conceptions is likewise straightforward: the withdrawal from all US-NATO-led international projects and adventures and the return of the sovereign decision-making to the people of Croatia. Sinčić has already acquired a wide following in the Balkans which means that the anti-imperial political conceptions are gaining ground beyond Croatia. He has also received support from noted European intellectuals and alter-globalists, such as Daniel Estulin, the author of the best-selling book on the Bilderbergs.
According to one of the most recent polls, Sinčić is in the third place with 9.2 percent of the vote, while Josipović is ahead with 46.5%, trailed by Grabar-Kitarović with 34.9%. What is fairly clear at this time is that no candidate will win the outright majority in the first round and that the two highest placed candidates will have to go to the second round. This means that the voters of Sinčić, who most likely will not make the second round, will be crucial in defeating the candidate of US-NATO Empire Grabar-Kitarović. The incumbent Josipović, if he means to win, will therefore have to find a way to accomodate Sinčić‘s ideas and will be forced to move away from the open support for the further European fragmentation plans of the US-NATO Empire. Moreover, the present strong showing of Sinčić will also enable his organization to get a head-start on the next Croatian parliamentary elections, and we may well have another SYRIZA in the making.
Speaking of SYRIZA, let’s take a look at the presidential elections in Greece.
While in Croatia the president is chosen directly by the people, in Greece, the election of the president takes place in the Parliament. There are three rounds of voting (three ballots). In the first and the second ballot, the candidate has to get 2/3 of the vote to get elected (200 out of 300 deputies), and, in the third, the threshold is lowered to 180 votes. If the candidate does not win the required number of votes in the final, third ballot, the government falls and the immediate parliamentary elections are triggered.
The first round was already held on December 17 and the candidate of the coalition government of the prime minister Antonis Samaras, Stavros Dimas, failed to win the necessary 200 votes. Just like Grabar-Kitarović in the Croatian case, Dimas is a favorite of the US-NATO Empire. He is truly the “member of the club,” having been the Greek foreign minister (2011-2012) and the EU Commissioner for the environment for six long years (2004-2010). He was also a Wall Street lawyer and the functionary of the World Bank. It appears certain that he will not get enough votes on the second ballot on December 23. The key question, however, remains as to what will happen on the final ballot on December 29.
Namely, the early parliamentary elections could endanger the plans of the US-NATO Empire and the neoliberal policies of the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund).According to the relevant public opinion polls, the likely winner of the parliamentary elections would be the progressive leftist party SYRIZA led by the charismatic young engineer Alexis Tsipras.
The reason for this is simple. In the last several years, Troika’s imposed policies have brought Greece to the brink of economic and social collapse, in addition to fueling violent right-wing extremism.When the implementation of these policies began, the Greek public debt was at the 115% of the GDP. Now, five years later, it is at the 175% of the GDP with the projection that it will go even beyond the 200% level. It is therefore clear that the so-called austerity measures only worsened the situation.
On the hand, SYRIZA proposes radical economic changes and has a concrete political program to implement them. These policies resemble Roosevelt’s “New Deal”: massive infrastructure investments and employment opportunities financed by zero interest central bank credits and writing off the public debt. SYRIZA also advocates the withdrawal of Greece from NATO and the radical restructuring of the EU institutions.
This is definitely something that can send the chill down the spines of the US-NATO Empire apparatchiks and their handlers in the corridors of Wall Street and other centers of neoliberal capitalism. In fact, the Empire’s favorite media amplifier, the Wall Street Journal, admitted so in a recent article. This is why one should not exclude the possibility of a massive corruption scheme of buying parliamentary votes for Dimas in between the second and the third ballot. This kind of the”carrot” also always goes hand-in-hand with the “stick” of blackmail.
However, even if the dark, undemocratic forces prevail in this particular case and Dimas gets elected, SYRIZA’s march to power appears unstoppable. It is grounded in the deeply felt desires of the Greek population to change the way it is treated by the powerful financial interests which have shown not to care about its wellbeing at all.
On the other hand, the defeat of the US-NATO Empire’s candidates Grabar-Kitarović and Dimas will be a clear sign that the Balkan countries are beginning to chart a new, more independent geopolitical future. The political alternative offered by Tsipras and Sinčić will then be set to enlarge its electoral base in the near future. It may even be that all the other countries in the Balkans will soon have their own political equivalents.
Originally published by Sibel Edmonds’ BFP. December 23, 2014.