Tales from a Greek Island
The Pandemic
Bravo for the Frogs
A Lovely Review for American Ikaros
Long legged buzzard. Achordeia. Picture by Keith
Bonelli's eagle. Achordeia. Taken by Keith
Passing Birds
An Actress in the Village
Avlona on a Cold day
Minas Prearis died January 2013 RIP
Minas Prearis
Selection from Reviews of More Tales from a Greek Island
More Tales from a Greek Island
More Tales from a Greek Island
Elections May 2012
Where to buy
Three Days of birds
Notable Birds of North Karpathos and Saria
Living on less
The Crisis
A poem for Kevin by Ruth Padel
More birds
Birds around the village
The new cover
Kevin Andrews-An Appraisal
Tales in German
Roy Chapman Andrews
Ellinoamerica Review
The Flight of Ikaros
Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)
Eleanora's Falcons
American Ikaros The search for Kevin Andrews
Spring Opening
Its not all Fun and Games
Scholar Gipsy? The Search for Kevin Andrews
Sometimes Things Work Out
Africa in Diafani
The Search for Kevin Andrews
We get E-mails
Going to the Doctors
Music in the Village

Elections May 2012

May 2012
Election day in Diafani was a quiet affair - austerity is pounding down on working people and few villagers working away could spare the time off work or the money to return home to vote.

Whilst the TV in the bars and restaurants dutifully covered the elections, nobody showed much of an interest.

A few glossy leaflets and torn posters flapped in the incessant wind, known hereabouts as maestro, but there were no arguments or discussions; no arms were waved and no voice was raised.

The people here are proud and independent and have always felt that tomorrow lay at their disposal. Now, as they quietly filed in to the church hall to vote, there was silent, passive resignation.

Villagers are opposed to the austerity measures imposed by the previous government
I have been part of this village for more than 30 years. We are far from Athens, but in the mainstream of Greek politics.

I can remember in the early 1980s, when parliamentary democracy was taking root in Greece in a new and exciting fashion, the arguments in the local cafe, the establishment of a women's group and the excitement of the mayoral elections when a socialist won.

Following the dictatorship of the colonels, Greece returned to parliamentary democracy and power swung between the left party, Pasok, and New Democracy on the right.

Locally the vote split 60:40 in favour of Pasok, with only a handful for the communists or the far-right parties.

The ritual here as elsewhere in Greece was always the same - citizens returned to their place of origin to vote. Given time off from work, their fares were often paid for by the major political parties.

So, at election time, the village came alive as young and old returned from Athens or Rhodes or even the United States, to argue and shout, party and vote.

This time the mood was different and the village had a sombre feel until late in the evening when the results trickled in and the villagers realised what Greece had done.

The ruling parties were punished and maybe destroyed: New Democracy has been returned as the largest party but with less than 20% of the popular vote while Pasok, with a little over 13%, has been kicked into third place by Syriza, a leftist party.

Suddenly, with the faint hope that austerity is not the only way forward, the people were drinking ouzo and retsina, laughing and arguing once again.

The arithmetic does not lead to any possible coalition and there is little doubt that there will be new elections in June.

The villagers expect Syriza to gain even more seats then, and perhaps form a government. Syriza is in favour of the euro, but opposed to the terms of the bailout. This may seem a contradiction but logic has never been a strong point in Greek politics.

Many of the newly elected candidates are popular figures: singers, actors and comedians. A commentator on the BBC described the new parliament as "a circus of madmen".

When I explain this to my neighbours they seem content with the description.

A variation of this article first appeared May8th onhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17993965