Greeks Feeling Resigned, Not Angry - For Now

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Just after dawn, they started removing large metal plates from the windows surrounding the National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG-PA - news) on Syntagma Square.

Their concern was that the election could presage another bout of violence around the parliament building, which has become a lightning rod for discontent.

But the voters voted, the politicians made their speeches and the sky didn't fall.

A closer inspection of the figures, however, suggests the mood now is more one of resignation than jubilation following New Democracy's narrow victory.

Nicholas Marikakis, who works in media sales at a local TV network, told me that no one in his apartment block voted.

They gathered for food and drinks on his balcony instead.

"None of us had the stomach to get involved," he says. "We didn't want to support those who got us into (this) mess, but we don't trust the other guys either."

They weren't alone. A quarter of all registered voters abstained, even though participation is compulsory under the Greek constitution.

The weariness is understandable, not just after five years of recession and two of austerity.

It's a cynicism born of experience: just six weeks ago the same politicians tried to hammer out a coalition in front of the cameras and under intense scrutiny.

It ended in failure - now the whole process begins again.

This time there may be a different trajectory: a swiftly assembled government, but a greatly emboldened opposition.

Syriza's young leader Alexis Tsipras says he will adhere rigidly to the anti-bailout fervour which saw his party more than quintuple its support in three years.

That means a New Democracy / Pasok / Democratic Left coalition (which numbers suggest will be the most likely outcome) won't have an easy task governing or renegotiating with international creditors.

If Syriza continues to snipe from the sidelines, with the support of nearly a third of the country, the coalition might stutter and stumble.

In the political stalemate, unhappiness could again find its expression in crippling strikes, marches and confrontation.

If that scenario unfolds, those metal window covers at the National Bank of Greece may be deployed once again.