by Sarantis Michalopoulos
The main opposition leftist Syriza party (EU Left) is in a deep crisis after the conservative New Democracy party (EPP) triumphed in the Sunday elections and is now on track to form a single-party government.
All polls failed to project the sweeping victory of the conservative party, taking by surprise even the most optimistic right-wing politicians.
New Democracy has a clear 20-point lead over Syriza. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would seek a single-party government in the second round, expected on 25 June or 2 July.
Tsipras’ future uncertain
“The election result is extremely negative for Syriza”, the leftist leader Alexis Tsipras said in a televised statement.
Tsipras added that there would be a second vote “so we don’t have time to spare”.
“We must immediately make all the changes needed to give the best possible terms in the next crucial and final electoral battle”, he noted, without elaborating what these changes may be.
Greek media reported that no discussion would be launched regarding Syriza’s leadership. But this is highly likely to happen after the second round.
All centre-left and leftist opposition parties put the blame on Tsipras regarding New Democracy’s victory.
According to Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis, Tsipras was the “golden sponsor” of New Democracy.
The first analysis suggests that Syriza lost 700,000 voters since the 2019 elections who preferred other parties from the left.
Greek socialists performed well, scoring 11.6%, while many Syriza voters seem to have turned to DiEM25, the party of Yanis Varoufakis (former finance minister under Tsipras government), and to the Course of Freedom party led by Zoe Konstantopoulou (former Syriza member) who did not manage to enter the parliament.
Greek media report a significant danger for Syriza to be dismantled in the second round as Pasok now eyes second position and claims that it is the main “progressive” alternative in Greek politics.
‘Elected and uncontrollable’
In its main article on Monday, influential news website News247.gr reports that Mitsotakis is “elected and uncontrollable”.
“The parties that consider themselves to have won because of the strategic defeat of Syriza will find themselves in front of surprises from a regime that, instead of the responsibility of power, will simply see the green light to govern without limits”, the article reads.
“The danger of the country’s ‘Orbanisation’ is now obvious, and those who see it should unite, organise and react with a plan, seriousness and belief that nothing ended yesterday”, the article adds.
Greek media also report that the wiretapping scandal shaking Greek politics for months seems not to have affected the electorate.
Moreover, the recent deadly train crash that killed 57 people has not affected the electorate either.
Kostas Karamanlis, the minister of transport who resigned after the accident, was re-elected, scoring first in his constituency in northern Greece with more than 23,000 votes.
Analysts suggest that New Democracy’s victory is so unquestionable that a new narrative by leftist forces will be hard to convince voters in the second round.
Moreover, New Democracy is expected to strengthen its position in the EU centre-right family (EPP), considering that it has become the “strongest centre-right government in the EU”, as Mitsotakis said yesterday.
*first published in: Euractiv.com