POLITICS
Greek parties lay down strategies ahead of second election round

Greece’s political parties are preparing their strategy ahead of the second election round on 25 June with post-election potential collaborations already causing tensions.

On Thursday (26 May), a caretaker government was appointed to lead the country until the second round of the elections.

However, all eyes are on the 25 June vote and whether the highly likely scenario of centre-right New Democracy (EPP) forming a single-party government will come true.

In the first round, New Democracy triumphed, getting 40.8% of the vote, followed by leftist Syriza party (EU Left) with 20% and socialists (Pasok-S&D) which gained 11.4%.

In the second round, a party or parties will need almost 37% of the vote to form a government. Depending on its performance, the first party will get some ‘bonus’ seats redistributed from those who do not cross the threshold.

The more parties enter the parliament, the higher the threshold will be to form a government. In the first round, two small parties, a leftist and a populist right-wing party, with only for a few thousand votes, did not reach the 3% threshold.

New Democracy now aims to maintain the percentage of the first vote to be able to govern alone.

For its part, Syriza wants to regain as many of the 700,000 votes lost compared to the 2019 election as possible to reduce the difference and remain the main opposition party.

The socialists seem to have targeted Syriza and want to fish more votes from the left to establish themselves as the main opposition party.

Tsipras: We put an end to mourning

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras told party members on Thursday that there is no time for mourning because of the electoral defeat and called on them to enter the battle with “seriousness and determination”.

The reference to “seriousness” concerned an incident three days before the elections.

Particularly, Giorgos Katrougkalos, an experienced Syriza politician, unexpectedly told a TV show that a Syriza government was planning to raise social contributions for freelancers triggering a wave of reactions.

Tsipras immediately removed him from the election race, considering that what he said was not in the party’s programme, while it remains a mystery why he made such a statement just before the elections.

Surveys suggest that this statement significantly affected the results, considering that 54% of freelancers voted for New Democracy.

The Syriza leader said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants to form a powerful single-party government with enough seats to even change the country’s constitution, as a close ally of the premier recently suggested.

“If Mr Mitsotakis with the 158 MPs today gave all the EU resources [funds] to date to a handful of business groups and bugged the phones of half the political system, imagine what he will do if he is more powerful”, Tsipras said, calling on all democratic forces to put an end to such a scenario.

Tsipras also criticised other progressive political forces for denying hinis pre-election call to join forces against the right but made it clear that the enemy is not them but the right.

Socialists eye main opposition

The socialists want to fish votes from ailing Syriza and establish themselves as the main opposition party.

In an interview with ANT1 TV, Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis said there is no way for his party to join a coalition government with New Democracy if a deadlock is reached after the second round.

However, he attacked Syriza again saying it is not “healthy” that the main opposition lost with a 20% difference.

“It has never happened before […] Mitsotakis has not done everything well. There must be a strong opposition, a strong party, progressive, democratic that will be a programmatic opposition party to play a role for the quality of our democracy”, he said.

Earlier on the same day, though, two leading Pasok politicians left the door open for a collaboration with New Democracy if needed.

A few days before the first round, SPD MEP Udo Bullmann told EURACTIV that collaborating between Pasok and New Democracy “would not be a good option” for the country.

Fears for arrogance, abstention

New Democracy, the unquestionable winner of the first round, has as an objective to maintain its high percentage.

However, statements by influential centre-right politicians suggesting that New Democracy aims to have 180 out of the 300-seat parliament to “change the constitution” caused headaches to Mitsotakis who called on his members to avoid arrogant comments.

New Democracy also fears the “loose vote” with supporters not voting being convinced for a clear victory.

“The ballots will be empty in the second round”, Mitsotakis recently said.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)

Source: Euractiv.com

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