Athens vox pops: 'We need change'

Issue 
Melayia (right) says she is voting for SYRIZA for 'a better future'.

Green Left Weekly journalist Vivian Messimeris, in Greece as part of Green Left's team reporting on the country's crucial January 25 elections, spoke to people in Athens on the elections and the likelihood of a win by radical left group SYRIZA. You can read more coverage of Greece and the elections here.

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Manolis Litsioltis
Pensioner

The last four years they have destroyed us with taxes. As a pensioner I have nothing, yet the government has asked me to pay thousands in taxes. How can they do that? The government doesn’t feed me; it doesn’t give me anything why should I be made to pay taxes that only go to fill the pockets of the corrupt.

I will be voting SYRIZA. I don’t expect them to be throwing money to everyone on the streets. But I don’t expect them to steal, like the previous government who have stolen our money for forty years

Jenny Prassa
Hospitality worker

Working life has become a lot more difficult and the political arena has been significantly impacted. Every aspect of life has been difficult.

I will be voting for SYRIZA because I am hoping for something better. I think that the issue of debt repayment will be crucial and of major significance on Greek politics.

Ioanna Prassa
Bank clerk

I'm one of the ones who have been lucky to be working in an job that is considered to be an essential industry. Job losses in the banking sector has not been affected as much as most other sectors.

Cost of living has increased significantly compared to life prior to the crisis. Health and education are now more expensive than they were, and this has impacted on me considerably as I have two young children.

I have witnessed many of my friends and family lose their jobs or have their wages and pensions cut. Although first hand I have avoided the worst, nonetheless everyone around me is suffering.

I haven’t yet decided [who to vote for], but I am certain that I will not be voting for the current governing party. I am 32 years old and all I have ever seen is the same two parties govern. I think that it is time for someone else to govern.

I think that enormous pressure will come down on a SYRIZA government from Europe. Both external forces and a section of Greek society are waiting for [SYRIZA leader Alexis] Tispras to make a mistake so they can attack.

Vassilis
Courier

We needed this change years ago. The people should not have allowed for the same people to govern for all of these years. I will not be voting for one of the traditional parties that has governed for the last forty years. We need a strong party that will implement change and get us out of debt.

I think that a SYRIZA victory will make things better. The Greek people are not at fault in this crisis. We need to change the system, the way of doing politics. Greece has a lot to offer the world; it has beautiful scenery, industry and agriculture. We have the means to solve this crisis.

Melayia

[I am voting SYRIZA] for a better future, because I have hope, I believe, and I anticipate a lot of change.

Things will not be easy but everything is possible. [SYRIZA] has a program, they have a plan to kick start the economy. The biggest issue will be building trading and developing an export industry.

Spiros

[I am voting SYRIZA] because the left has consistently defended the rights of workers. After a government of memorandum that has created misery and poverty to our country. The only solution is the left to give us hope, and slowly we will build a new Greece.

The hardest thing [after the elections] will be to build the Greek economy, the ability to accumulate wealth and to create jobs, allow small business to re-establish. To improve health and education will also be a challenge. We don’t want a society of imposed taxes and conditions, we want the opportunity to be able to grow and develop as a country.

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