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Greece’s two-party system obituary has been printed long ago

16 November 2010 / 12:11:16  GRReporter
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First, there was an rapprochement in Athens of the majority of people who are in the central left part of the political spectrum. I want to recall that many functionaries of SYRIZA that did not support George Kaminis in the second election round were publicly against that party decision. His candidacy was such that it managed to attract central left voters.
Secondly, New Democracy has no good results at the community helm for a period of 25 years. This is especially true for the last Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. Suffice it to mention that the mayors of New Democracy were greatly candidates for the post of party leader during all these years. They were dealing much more with their personal political rise than with the problems of Athens. In this line of thought, I believe that Athenians showed their dissatisfaction with the mandates of all previous mayors of the capital in the face of Nikitas Kaklamanis.   
Something similar happened in Thessaloniki. Although Costas Giulekas was a very good choice as an individual party's candidate, he paid for the unsuccessful ruling of the current mayor. Moreover, the fact that his candidacy had concentrated the most reactionary parts of the church in northern Greece, which caused voters withdrawal, and the personality of his opponent made the two candidates so close to each other.
This is beyond the logic of Thessaloniki and northern Greece, where voters traditionally are more conservative. This time, the intervention of the religious nationalist factor was very obvious, extreme and provocative to the extent to cause convergence of all conflicting societal trends around Yannis Boutaris, who was not party candidate of PASOK. His personality was able to blunt the contradictions between elements of the left that united against the opponent Costas Giulekas, who probably took unfair the burden of the recent mismanagement of the municipality.  

New Democracy candidacy has proved unsuccessful in the battle for Attica because Vassilis Kikilias failed to gain even the votes the party had gained in the past elections. The opposition lost the elections in the Peloponnese region, where the birthplace of the leader of the party is. These were New Democracy two betting candidates, but personally Antonis Samaras’ too. How would you comment on these losses?

I think you described it properly. It is hard for me to understand the somewhat triumph of Mr. Samaras during his yesterday's statement. His two personal choices were strongly rejected by voters. But not just the fact that the party received the votes of only 20% of the voters in Attica, where one third of all voters in the country vote for a candidate who was a personal choice of the leader. We must take into account the fact that even in New Democracy rout during the last year's parliamentary elections, when the party appeared to voters and said "Come on, vote against me because I can not deal with the problems", the only area where the difference with PASOK was not so great was the Peloponnese region. Even in three of the five subregions – Messinia, Laconia and Argolis – New Democracy led the vote last year.
Consequently, I can not understand this almost triumphant tone of his statement when he could not win even in the region, where he withstood in the last year’ hard loss and with the personal intervention of the party leader in the political game in the Peloponnese and the symbolism he himself attached to it. If he himself has not made these two races so personal he might consider that he gets out of the elections stronger. Moreover, there is the great advantage that he took leadership of the party in its historical nadir and there was no room to bring it back. But it's hard to figure out how he would remain the undisputed leader of his party when he lost the main elections and his tone is so sloganeer and populist.  

Do you think these losses would cause changes in New Democracy?

I think Antonis Samaras has one advantage despite everything I said so far. And it is that there are no leadership personalities in New Democracy. Dora Bakoyannis is no longer in the party. Dimitris Avramopoulos was repeatedly ignored and will no longer glow as he did in the past, I even think that he was actually just a picture.
And the next generation is just the next generation. Aris Spiliotopoulos, Kostis Hatzidakis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis could be able to criticize, but I think they won’t be able to fully question the present leader of the party. Furthermore, the party LAOS wasn’t particularly successful in the elections which favoured Antonis Samaras to some extent to be able to specify where the lost supporters have gone. So, I believe that even if there are voices against Antonis Samaras he will hold until the next parliamentary elections.

Tags: Election resultsTwo-party systemNew DemocracyDora BakoyannisAntonis Samaras
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