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Sunday
Sep202015

Greek Elections: No policies, lots of politics

By Peggy Papakosta, @PeggyPapakosta

Image: Marian Kamensky

It will be the most difficult election to predict as of yet. In a few hours the polling stations close and it has thus far been one of the most interesting elections at least from a communication perspective. The political narratives were shallow for the most part or missing with very few party platforms declaring what each party promises to do the next day and to what it can be held accountable. After all, what does it matter in a country where rules and austerity are imposed from supranational powers?

The different party campaigns were attention-grabbing, some creative and even enthralling in some cases. It is entirely possible that 9 parties will be able to exceed the 3% threshold to obtain seats in the next parliament. Depending on many factors, the number of parliamentary parties could also very easily be 8 or 7 or even 6. The three smaller parties could succeed in getting a decent vote share and still see themselves outside the parliament looking in.

Let’s take the generous approach and assume that the next Greek parliament will look like a jigsaw puzzle with 2 main parties, 4 medium and 3 smaller ones. It is tempting to offer different plausible scenarios, which is the most prudent method but it is also not as fascinating. So, opting for interesting rather than safe, here goes nothing:

  1. Syriza, the left-wing party most recently in power, is earmarked to go past the finish line first in this election too. It started at an average speed and kept on winning ground steadily. It will probably lose some of its vote share compared to the last election held in January 2015 but it will most likely be part of the new government.
  2. New Democracy (ND), the right-wing party and main opposition, ran the most impressive campaign. It started low and then it gained a lot of ground rallying its voters to a very satisfactory degree. And then it gained some more ground. It will probably come second but will have increased its vote share since last time.
  3. Golden Dawn, the Nazi party, will probably come 3rd in a country that fought against Nazi oppressors ferociously a few decades back and is now fighting to retain some dignity against acute austerity. Its influence decreases when New Democracy goes up as a lot of old Democracy voters now vote for Golden Dawn.
  4. PASOK-DIMAR is a coalition between two center-left parties. They too ran a really good campaign and rose steadily in the polls. The new strategy and leader agree with their old audience.
  5. The Communist Party (KKE) seems to gain ground too.
  6. River is a centrist party that started strong but was cannibalized in the process of the campaign by other parties such as Syriza and New Democracy. Nevertheless it is not in danger of not exceeding the threshold of 3% required to obtain seats in parliament.
  7. The Union of the Centrists also started strong and its influence waned. If it enters parliament, it will be the first time in its long history. And there’s a good chance it won’t.
  8. LAE is a left-wing party characterized by its strong stance and rhetoric against austerity. It is a spin-off of Syriza and one of the main reasons for this snap election. It entered the race very strong and it is now on the brink of not reaching the 3% threshold.
  9. ANEL is a right-wing party that formed the previous coalition government with Syriza. They entered the race with very low expectations and slowly started picking up pace. It is doubtful that they will have gained enough ground to obtain seats in the next parliament even though this party has been known to surprise at every single election since 2012.

 

Syriza

ND

Golden Party

KKE

PASOK-DIMAR

River

Union of Centrists

LAE

ANEL

Vote share

34,1

30,3

6,6

5,3

5,2

4,9

3,5

3,6

3,2

Seats

138

78

17

14

13

13

9

10

8

Margin of error ±3% (corresponding seats adjustment)

by Peggy Papakosta for ΠoliticalForesight©












 

Syriza is expected to be the core of the next Greek administration and it will probably have a number of other parliamentary parties to choose from to form the new coalition government. Potential candidates include PASOK-DIMAR, River, Union of Centrists and ANEL. To form the new government, at least three parties will be required, which will make political life in Greece more interesting and original than ever. As if it wasn’t already. So in short, the new (and old) Greek elected officials may not be in a position to implement any type of self-driven policy but they can consume themselves in ample games of politics. Fair enough.