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A historic victory and many questions

The Syriza electoral victory is a historic event for Greece of course, but still more for Europe, and it is almost amusing to see socialist leaders being pleased with this success, alongside a total collapse of PASOK, which in 2009 had won more than 3 million votes with a score of 44% and 160 seats: yesterday evening, it won just 290,000, 4.7% of the votes. The extreme examples of its collapse being in its historical bases like Crete with votes swinging mainly to Syriza: in 2009, PASOK won 54.6% of the votes in Heraklion, Syriza 4.3%; in June 2012 18.6%, Syriza 33.6%; and yesterday PASOK was at 5.9%, Syriza 47.9%!

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The oligarchic rebellion in the Donbas

Seventy-five people were killed on the Maidan in Kiev on February 20, 2014. The following day, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski insisted: “If you do not sign the agreement, you will have a state of war and the army in the streets. You will all be dead.” The foreign ministers of France and Germany echoed his words. The trio of Ukrainian opposition leaders eventually folded under the pressure. Although they feared the worst – they were very afraid of the reaction of the Maidan – they accepted a deal with Yanukovych. He was to remain president until December - until the early presidential election. The Western political elites breathed a sigh of relief: the revolution was hijacked onto the institutional path, where it was sure to get bogged down. But immediately there was a first surprise. The troops of the Ministry of the Interior and the police reacted to this agreement as if it was a capitulation by Yanukovych. At full speed, even panicking, they deserted the battlefield, thereby depriving the regime of its security forces. More and more police went over to the side of Maidan.

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Joseph Stiglitz shows that a suspension of debt repayments can be beneficial for a country and its people

Since the European Union started facing an abyssal debt crisis and several countries have been caught in the stranglehold of their creditors, the prospect of defaulting has become a real possibility. A majority of left-wing and orthodox economists consider that a suspension of debt payment must be avoided. The loans granted by the Troika to Greece (May 2010), Ireland (November 2010), Portugal (May 2011), and Cyprus (March 2013) were allegedly intended to prevent those countries from defaulting, which it was claimed would have had disastrous consequences for the populations in the concerned countries. Yet several economists also develop strong arguments to defend a suspension of debt payment. Anyway, it has now become difficult to deny that the conditions attached to those loans combined with the increase in those countries’ debts have a dramatic impact on the populations starting with the Greek people. It is high time to understand that suspending debt payment can be a justified option.

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