February 21. 2024. 8:03

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Greek elections: First round projections show deadlock

According to the current polls, the first round of the Greek elections due in May will not result in forming a coalition government, hinting at a complex political landscape, particularly considering sensitive relations at the EU political level.

The first round will be based on a proportional system, and in the second round, the parties will need to reach 37-38% of the vote to form a majority government.

According to polls, the conservative New Democracy (EPP) and the main opposition Syriza party (EU Left) are in a neck-and-neck race. Third ranks the Greek socialists (Pasok), who is expected to play the kingmaker’s role.

New Democracy has said it wants a single-party government and does not believe in coalitions. On the other hand, other parties have openly declared their intention to work together.

For their part, Syriza and Pasok have said they prefer a coalition government to be formed right after the first round. However, this scenario seems unlikely unless Syriza wins the first round of the elections.

The four scenarios

According to Ta Nea, the first scenario suggests a grand coalition between New Democracy and Syriza. Considering that both parties represent the two different poles of the political spectrum, and their relations are at all time low, this scenario is described as highly unlikely.

The second scenario sees a coalition between New Democracy and Pasok. The report suggests that both parties hardly exceed the necessary 150 seats in the 300-member parliament, and thus, the numbers are not promising.

But even if they reach more than 150 seats, the relations between the two parties have been severely poisoned due to the Greek wiretapping scandal.

Last summer, it was revealed that the phone of Pasok’s leader Nikos Androulakis was bugged by Greek secret services, which are under the personal control of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The government never made public why his phone was bugged, citing national security.

Androulakis has clarified that he would never accept Mitsotakis as a prime minister.

Such a scenario could also have a backlash from the EU socialist family, which has decided to end the so-called “grand coalitions” with the EPP and instead eye partnerships with liberals, the Greens or even the left.

Another possible scenario is a “progressive coalition” between Syriza, Pasok and leftist DiEM25. The latter is led by former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

According to polls, this scenario so far does not reach the necessary 150 seats.

In addition, Pasok has said it does not consider Varoufakis as a representative of the progressive front.

Analysts in Athens suggest that a lot will depend on the electoral performance of Pasok in the first round.

If it performs poorly and Syriza has a clean win, then it may join a progressive government without much say on who the prime minister will be and, therefore, accept Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras.

If socialists score high, they may seek another prime minister but have made it clear this person should be a politician, not a technocrat.

The problematic scenario

The last scenario is a collaboration between New Democracy and the populist right “Greek Solution”.

The two parties do not achieve a majority, and at the same time, it would politically deal a severe blow to New Democracy, considering that the Greek Solution belongs to European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) led by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The current leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) and close ally of Mitsotakis, Manfred Weber, attempted a couple of months ago to approach Meloni.

However, his attempt faced intense criticism from many “liberal” EPP members.

Particularly vocal against such collaboration were both the Christian Democrats (CDU) in Berlin and the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria.

German centre-right blows off Weber-Meloni EU plans

*Updated with comments from the delegation of Fratelli d’Italia in the ECR group.
A potential alliance between the rightist European Conservatives and Reformists Group ECR and the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is off the table for the German conservatives, a senior …

An EPP official close to the matter recently told EURACTIV that the Greek elections would determine to a large extent, the future of Weber in the EPP party leadership.

The EPP official explained that Weber currently has two strong backers in the party: Mitsotakis and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

“A lot will depend on the result of the Greek elections due by summer […] If Mitsotakis loses, then Weber will be in a very difficultposition,” the official said.

Concerns over EPP chief’s leadership style, second salary

Officials of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) have voiced concern about Manfred Weber’s leadership style and his attempts to collaborate with Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni without prior consultations.

Mitsotakis irritates Pasok, Syriza

Meanwhile, Mitsotakis triggered strong reactions after hinting that if he ranks first, he may seek to “fish” individual lawmakers from other parties to form a single-party government.

“He wants to steal MPs from other parties and even announces it. This cannot be a condition for a sustainable and long-lasting government,” main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, who supports a progressive government, commented.

“Mitsotakis must be sure that the Greek people will not tolerate such methods”, Pasok’s Androulakis said.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)