A Shrewd Move

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece was quite shrewd when he asked voters to approve or disapprove the bailout terms offered by its international creditors. A unique aspect of Greek political life tilted the odds in favor of the ‘no’ campaign.

The Greek word for ‘no’ is ‘oxi.’ The Greeks celebrate “Oxi” day to celebrate the 1940 decision by their prime minister to resist Mussolini’s efforts to align Greece with the Axis powers. According to Stathis Kalyvas, a Yale political scientist, “The ‘no’ is often identified with patriotism and defiance and national pride.” This tailwind likely pushed the ‘no’ vote to victory.

Tsipras gambled and the resounding success of the ‘no’ vote shows he won this round.