Greek Vote Offers Hope, Concern

All eyes were on the Greek elections over the weekend, but there were key votes across the region.

Published on: Jun 18, 2012

In Greece, elections Sunday have apparently given the New Democracy party the nod. This is the center-right party that favors staying in the European currency union and has shown support for the deals worked out to hammer down debt.

The New York Times reports that the vote gave world markets some relief but as trading ended other issues in the Euro-region softened the markets. Worries over Spanish debt and the nearly insurmountable problems in Greece brought a reality check for traders.

KEY BALLOTS: Greece pushes back toward austerity, France picks growth approach and in Egypt, turmoil could be the rule of the day.
KEY BALLOTS: Greece pushes back toward austerity, France picks growth approach and in Egypt, turmoil could be the rule of the day.

The news service The Hill reports that the White House has hailed the Greek vote and urges the parliament to quickly form a coalition government. Elections in May, which even split the parliament, brought the Greek government to a near standstill - which created the need for Sunday's elections. The key challenge for the Greeks is meeting the vast austerity measures required by the European Union to get the country back on track.

Reports from a wide number of sources point to business closings, high unemployment and the fact that many workers in the country haven't been paid for months. That's adding up to unrest in the region, and a significant challenge for the coalition government.

The Greek situation, while a bit calmer today, remains an important part of the European debt crisis along with Spain and Italy, which are also having significant problems. Germany's Angela Merkel is standing tough for the need for continued austerity measures.

Meanwhile, in France, weekend elections have given new French President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party a majority in that country's parliament. Time magazine reports that the country likes Hollande's plan to push for growth rather than austerity in the region. The Socialists have a plan to raise taxes on big banks and oil companies, levy a 75% tax on incomes higher than $1.26 million per year (1 million euros) and plans to hire 60,000 teachers.

And not to take our eye off the global election "ball" two days of voting in Egypt may have ended with the Muslim Brotherhood candidate as the winner. The group has projected that its candidate has won the country's first competitive presidential election. The trouble is, the military has taken action in an effort to eliminate the president's authority. The Arab Spring may be giving way to a long hot Egyptian summer. Of course, the opposition candidate, who last served as Prime Minister under ousted Hosni Mubarak also claims victory.