Opposition seeks victory as Greeks cast their votes in elections
On Sunday, Greece is preparing to hold elections to determine the ruling party for the next four years. Despite opinion polls indicating that the ruling New Democracy (ND) party is likely to win, the opposition remains optimistic about their chances of victory.
Greece is preparing to hold elections on Sunday to decide who will rule the country for the next four years, with the opposition still optimistic about its chances of winning despite opinion polls indicating the ruling New Democracy (ND) party is likely to win.
In recent weeks, surveys have indicated a resurgence in popularity for ND, which has seen a downward trend following a fatal February 28 train crash that killed at least 57 people near the northern town of Tempe.
The party leader and current prime minister has asked the Greeks to give him a strong mandate to form a one-party government, promising more prosperity, stability and security. He said that the new Greece has already begun to rise thanks to his government’s policies, which he described as bold and realistic.
On the other hand, the main opposition Syriza built its election campaign on two main pillars, referring to the corruption and wiretapping scandals, which became known as the Greek Watergate, accusing the government of causing serious damage to the rule of law and democracy. During his tenure he pledged to restore democracy and institutional integration in Greece.
The decline in the purchasing power of working- and middle-class Greeks has also been in the sights of the party, which argues that the NDP’s economic policies have exacerbated income inequality.
Criticizing polls that show ND is in the future, SYRIZA said her support is more important than what the polls indicate.
And while she noted that all left-wing parties in parliament are banding together to form a progressive coalition government, the wide ideological divisions between them mean that the prospect of such an administration is slim.
The Social Democratic PASOK-KINAL, led by Nikos Androulakis, is expected to be the third largest party in the new Parliament, and differentiates itself from ND and SYRIZA with its pro-Western foreign policy and market-oriented economy. As a result, many surveys and media reports indicate that the party may be a kingmaker in forming a coalition government led by either ND or SYRIZA.
But some of its members consider SYRIZA to be too far-left, while others are against cooperating with ND on the surveillance scandal. This could result in PASOK refusing to join any potential coalition.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the country’s oldest political party, has distanced itself from other parties it accuses of establishing. Led by Dimitris Koutsumbas, it rejected the possibility of participating in any coalition government. However, it appears poised to become the fourth largest party in parliament, due to its traditional appeal to some prominent trade unions, youth and its loyal electoral base.
It is also likely that the MeRA25 of former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, known for his strong anti-establishment rhetoric and Eurosceptic brawler, will pass the 3% electoral threshold and be present in the new parliament.
But its particularly tough stance against neoliberal economic policies makes it a less-than-ideal coalition partner with Syriza, which has already become a party in the centre.
Likewise, the Greek Solution, a far-right populist party led by Kyriakos Philopoulos, is expected to retain its presence in parliament, but is unlikely to play a role in any alliance due to its pro-Russian, ultra-nationalist and religious rhetoric.
Under these circumstances, a second election in early June seems a strong possibility.
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