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Greece needs consensus more than aid
Dr Neophytos Loizides, an expert in international conflict analysis at the University of Kent, suggests political consensus is more important than aid for Greece as it prepares for elections today (Sunday, 17 June) that could have major ramifications for Europe.
Dr Loizides comments: 'Shaping a domestic political consensus should be prioritized, even above financial aid considerations. Indeed, Greek opinion polls repeatedly show a clear preference for coalition governments to address the country's troubles.
'The reality is, however, that Greek political elites have failed to reach even a minimum consensus on how to deliver the much-needed institutional reforms. While lack of political consensus has hindered crisis management in Portugal, Ireland and Spain, Greece has suffered the most from the lack of shared-responsibility.
'Consensus democracies, according to several academic studies, are not only better in managing domestic conflict, but they could also more effective in managing economic crises. Single party governments with weakened and frequently manufactured majorities, as in Greece, cannot successfully address worsening economic crises.
'Greece's southern European neighbors have already reached a minimum consensus in dealing with the debt crisis and even countries facing significantly more threatening challenges, including civil wars have benefited from recent institutional innovations. Consensus can bolster trust in times of transition. This could be crucial if Greeks and the eurozone are to emerge from their labyrinth.'
Dr Loizides, of the University's School of Politics and International Relations, is an expert on negotiations and conflict resolution in divided societies. His research examines how conflict-prone societies opt for peace settlements.
This comment piece is based on an article co-authored by Dr Loizides and Iosif Kovras, a Fellow at the National Kapodestrian University of Athens.
Story published at 10:25am 18 June 2012
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