THE BLOG
09/21/2015 05:14 am ET Updated Sep 21, 2016

The Greece Polls Were Wrong Again

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The Greek polls were wrong again. Syriza had expected to win by a 3% margin; they won by 7.4%. Here are a few observations from the vote:

1. Syriza remains almost as popular, despite a confusing message. Is Syriza in favor of the agreement with the EU? They say, "Yes," but they recommended a "No" vote in the referendum. They seem to be doing very little to comply with the EU agreement. Syriza, having dumped the far, far left (Popular Unity; Syriza is far left), is now going to coalesce with the far right, Independent Greeks (the Golden Dawn is the far, far right). This is not an issue of what is right for Greece; this is an issue of ego. Syriza has 145 seats, down 4 from January.
2. New Democracy gained nothing. Memories are short. Samaras is unpopular as ever (he did not run, but his ghost remains). There is a lingering feeling of corruption, whether or not justified, that haunts the party. The party needs dynamic, younger leadership. New Democracy has 75 seats, down 1.
3. The Golden Dawn gained little additional support. The refugee crisis is a Greek island problem; therefore it did not get broader support. Golden Dawn has 18 seats, up 1.
4. Pasok (the left) seems to be coming back from the dead. Pasok has 17 seats, up 4.
5. The Communist Party (KKE) kept its usual 5%. KKE has 15 seats, unchanged.
6. The River (Potami), a centrist party, was the night's biggest loser and is at risk of slipping into oblivion. The River has 11 seats, down 6.
7. Independent Greeks (a New Democracy spin-off), despite losing 23% of its seats, gets to be the king maker again with Syriza. Independent Greeks have 10 seats, down 3.
8. Union of Centrists is an old party, who for the first time received enough votes to be represented in the Parliament. The Union is best described as a party that attracts the protest vote. The Union of Centrists has 9 seats, up from zero.

The turnout was an all-time low; 56.5% compared to 63.6% in January 2015.

The left wing of Syriza, Popular Unity, did not get enough votes to get seats in Parliament. In August, 40 Syriza MP's voted against the EU deal and presumably would be the core of the spun-off Popular Unity. This did not happen.

The coalition government is extremely weak. With 155 members of parliament out of 300, any speed bump could lead to another round of elections.

The government is required to pass a number of laws to implement the agreement with the Europeans. It is unlikely any progress is made.

The elections results are another step closer to Greece leaving the Euro. If I were the Germans, I would offer Greece E100 billion to exit. Chaos is around the corner.