General election: Conservatives celebrate landslide victory in Greece

General election: Conservatives celebrate landslide victory in Greece
General election: Conservatives celebrate landslide victory in Greece

The Greeks give Prime Minister Mitsotakis a clear mandate again. Nevertheless, it is questionable whether the Conservatives will bring about a new government. If not, it goes to the polls again in July.

In Greece, the conservative governing party Nea Dimokratia clearly won the parliamentary elections on Sunday. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ party even grew significantly compared to the election four years ago.

The Ministry of the Interior saw them in the evening after counting half of the votes at around 41 percent (2019: 39.9 percent). However, it is questionable whether Mitsotakis will form a government in Athens due to a new electoral law. If he cannot form a coalition – or wants to govern alone anyway – the Greeks will have to vote again in July.

Heavy losses for Left Party Syriza

The left-wing Syriza party of former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had to accept heavy losses: Although it remained the strongest opposition party with around 20 percent, it lost more than ten percentage points. The third strongest force was the social democratic Pasok with around 12 percent (2019: 8.1 percent).

The communists also managed to jump over the three percent hurdle with 6.8 percent and the right-wing populist Elliniki Lysi with 4.5 percent. The Left Party Mera25 led by ex-Finance Minister Giannis Varoufakis had to tremble with 2.4 percent and the ultra-conservative Niki with 2.9 percent.

Mitsotakis does not have much choice among the coalition partners. An alliance with Syriza is out of the question – not least because Tsipras designed his election campaign as a counter-program to New Democracy and railed against the head of government. Alliances with left-wing and right-wing populists are just as unlikely – even mathematically it is probably not enough. Only the Social Democrats could be considered as partners. However, their boss Nikos Androulakis has so far ruled out a coalition.

Are new elections coming?

Mitsotakis is probably not even looking for a partner in the EU and NATO country with around 10.5 million inhabitants, but is instead banking on new elections. “The election result is a clear mandate from the people to Mitsotakis to continue to govern alone,” Interior Minister Makis Voridis told Skai TV. In any case, Mitsotakis always emphasized during the election campaign that he wanted to govern alone again. “It would be funny if he suddenly said ‘yes’ to coalition negotiations.”

The conservatives have a chance of gaining sole power after another election because of a peculiarity in Greek electoral law. In the current election, simple proportional representation applied: mathematically, one or more parties must collect 48 percent of the votes in order to be able to govern. In the next elections, on the other hand, the strongest party will automatically receive at least 20 additional seats in parliament – which would probably mean that New Dimokratia would be in power again alone.

At Syriza, the mood was depressed after the first figures were announced. The left had campaigned for votes with a massive increase in the welfare state, wanted to increase pensions and the minimum wage and tax the economy more heavily. Mitsotakis, on the other hand, advocated further stabilizing the country after the severe financial crisis of the past decade. Voter turnout was low: only about 58 percent of those entitled actually voted.

Source: Stern

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