March 5. 2024. 2:13

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Greece holds elections on 21 May amid growing polarisation


Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday that the next national elections would be held on 21 May, but analysts are divided over whether a coalition government could be formed in the first round and whether a second round would be needed.

The first round will be based on a proportional system, and in the second round – due on 2 July – 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 aims for a single-party government and rejects coalitions. The conservative party has even said it will go for a second round until a majority is formed.

On the other hand, both Syriza and Pasok say a coalition government should be formed even from the first round.

Some analysts say current polls suggest that there will be a deadlock while others insist that a progressive government could be formed on 21 May.

Progressive forces are considered the main opposition leftist Syriza party, the socialists, the communist party (KKE), and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ leftist DiEM25. All are projected to surpass the 3% threshold to enter the parliament.

Syriza has expressed its hope to lead such a government. However, other progressive forces face disagreements with each other.

The first party and Pasok’s role

A lot depends on which party – New Democracy or Syriza – will win the first round.

Pasok’s electoral performance will also determine whether a coalition government could be formed on 21 May.

Its leader Nikos Androulakis has said that if his party gets a two-digit percentage, he could be the prime minister. However, it would be hard for either New Democracy or Syriza to accept it.

Pasok insists that a government should be formed on 21 May, fearing that in the second round, the two big parties will polarise further the political atmosphere resulting in “squeezing” his party and, therefore, losing many voters to bigger parties.

Greek elections: First round projections show deadlock

According to the current polls, the first round of the Greek elections due in May will not be able to form a coalition government, a press report suggested.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)