Greece's anti-austerity Syriza party refused to participate in last-ditch efforts to form a unity government Monday, making it increasingly likely that the debt-burdened country will have to hold new parliamentary elections in June to break the impasse. European finance leaders, who are meeting in Brussels Monday, insist that Greece must stick to the harsh spending cuts that the last government agreed to in return for a massive bailout. But Syriza, which placed second in voting a week ago and could be the top vote-getter in fresh balloting, insists that the austerity measures are "catastrophic" and must be abandoned. Will new elections put the struggling nation back on track, or hasten its collapse?
A new election will lead to disaster: Syriza's leader, Alexis Tsipras, calls the $200 billion bailout "blackmail," says Rick Moran at The American Thinker. But EU largesse is the only thing that spared Greece from collapse. A new election will almost certainly give the leftist Syriza party and the less radical Democratic Left the power to form a coalition government, end austerity, and scuttle the bailout. Then the "economic chaos" really begins.
"Greek radical socialists torpedo talks to form government"
And bring more uncertainty: Unless the Greek people change their minds in a "quickie second election," says the Boston Herald in an editorial, the anti-austerity crowd will win, Greece will get booted from the euro zone, the European Central Bank will withhold bailout money, and the country will run out of cash. Greece, unable to borrow, will "have to print money — drachmas — to pay its bills," causing inflation. Nobody can say where it all ends, but "Greece faces a grim future."
"Greece on a cliff"
But it beats a popular revolt: Greece's voters have had enough of the "current dead-end path of austerity-fueled recession," says Arianna Huffington at The New York Times. They're going to insist on change, "through either the ballot box or violence in the streets." So it's best to simply follow their will, even if that means leaving the euro and defaulting on the country's debt. Argentina defaulted in 2001 and its economy bounced back — Greece can, too.