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Cabinet reshuffling and early elections in Greece within months

26 May 2014 / 19:05:37  GRReporter
3390 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

A day after the European elections in Greece that the radical left SYRIZA party won by a 4% margin, its leader Alexis Tsipras called for early elections. The ruling New Democracy and PASOK began reckoning in terms of the election results, already considering their next actions, some of the parties are licking their wounds and others, such as the new "To Potami" movement reported a very good election premiere with two MEPs.

What developments can SYRIZA’s victory lead to, albeit not so strong? Why didn’t a large part of the Greek citizens vote confidence in it and how will the government respond to this vote? Political scientist Plamen Tonchev explains the consequences of the results of Sunday's vote before GRReporter.

"Apparently SYRIZA did not achieve its greatest and most ambitious goal, which was to overthrow the government and give rise to early elections. It is already clear that, at least at this stage, the radical left does not inspire confidence in the public as an alternative to the present government. On the other hand, SYRIZA can reasonably claim that it is currently the largest party in the country with a lead of almost 4%. SYRIZA will be represented in the European Parliament by six MEPs and it is particularly interesting that Kostadinka Kuneva will be one of them. Moreover, SYRIZA won in a number of municipalities and in two regions, including the largest one, which is Attica. All these things are positive for the radical left. In conclusion, I would say that, despite its internal contradictions, SYRIZA is establishing itself on the political stage. The question however is whether the radical left, which has risen in times of a severe crisis, will be able to formulate a meaningful and convincing strategy for Greece’s emergence from this crisis. In a sense, the party is a "child" of the crisis but an important question that remains in force is whether it will be able to take Greece out of it.

Obviously, New Democracy lost some of the votes it received two years ago. On the other hand, the parliamentary elections at the time were extremely polarized and then the bet was whether Greece would remain in the eurozone. That is, the question at the time concerned the economic stability of the country whereas yesterday, the majority of Greek citizens voted for political stability.

This is especially true for PASOK, which has changed its name to Elia. The fact that it has not collapsed shows that the voters prefer political stability through today's government. They are not ready for the involvement of the country in mishaps and political experiments with SYRIZA.

The true winner in the elections, however, is Golden Dawn, which we must admit. This was clear last Sunday, after the first round of the local elections, as well as yesterday. Firstly, Golden Dawn is establishing its presence as a third political force despite all the trials and despite the fact that its leaders are in prison. Secondly, at least one of its sympathizers has become a regional governor, namely Theodoros Karipidis in Western Macedonia region, although he ran as an independent candidate.

Moreover, it is clear that Golden Dawn exerts influence on the other parties, albeit indirectly. For example, it is clear that it won votes to the detriment of Independent Greeks. It is clear that it influenced the rhetoric of many of the candidates, as was the case with New Democracy candidate for Athens mayor Aris Spiliotopoulos, when he took the position of Golden Dawn on the issue of building a mosque. I.e. Golden Dawn is increasingly establishing itself. This is unpleasant as a fact but we should account for it.

Independent Greeks and Democratic Left suffered significant losses. The first lost two-thirds of the votes compared to the 10% it had won in May 2012. It fell to 3.4% of the votes. Obviously, Independent Greeks that spontaneously originated on Facebook in early 2012 as a movement of discontented citizens has no strong foundations as a party structure nor does it have a specific vision for Greece’s future.

For its part, Democratic Left paid dearly for the indecision on the part of leader Fotis Kouvelis and for the lack of any meaningful strategy.

A very interesting phenomenon is Stavros Theodorakis’ "To Potami" movement that deserves to be considered. It is one of the few positive developments, an optimistic tone in the election results. Its initiative to provoke, immediately after the elections, a discussion on the necessary changes in the state structure and the economic model of Greece is anticipated with interest. In my opinion, the most important thing is that "To Potami" can attract the passive and demoralized citizens and return them to the political process.

Tags: PoliticsEuropean electionsGreeceSYRIZAGovernment coalitionPolitical partiesEarly electionsCrisis
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