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The situation is favourable for New Democracy but Greeks may give Tsipras a second chance

04 September 2015 / 23:09:06  GRReporter
4423 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

For a week now, Greece has been amidst one of the shortest election campaigns in recent years. Polls show that the fight for the first place between SYRIZA and New Democracy will turn into a derby, as the conservatives have recently prevailed.

It seems that the next parliament will involve at least seven parties, but the composition of the next, certainly coalition office, remains unclear.

Greek voters will have the opportunity to watch two election debates. The first one, which will take place on 9 September, will involve all party leaders and the second, on 14 September, the two contenders for the premier's chair, namely Alexis Tsipras and Evangelos Meimarakis.

Political analyst Sakis Moumtzis considers things easier for the leader of New Democracy, as his party will run in the elections with a clear political line. In contrast, Alexis Tsipras relies solely on the negative attitude of voters towards the old political system, without presenting to them a clear plan on how he would govern the country after the complete change in his policy and the signing of the third memorandum of financial assistance.

In an interview with GRReporter the analyst presents his assessment of the election results and the possible government coalitions.

Mr. Moumtzis, SYRIZA and New Democracy have emerged as the leading political forces in Greece. Whichever of them wins the elections, the difference between them will be small. Therefore, they will probably have to govern together. Do you think there will be such a coalition, and if not, what will be the other options?

It seems that the next government will involve three parties. The main one among them will be the party that wins the majority of votes. I suppose the other two will be Potami and PASOK.

If we consider the statements of SYRIZA representatives, there is a small chance of the party deciding to form a government based on the opposition to the memorandum of financial aid, i.e. to seek for coalition partners Panagiotis Lafazanis’ Popular Unity and the Communist Party. I do not know whether the number of seats will allow this scenario but it is possible.

I think Potami and PASOK will be able to enter the next parliament, and they will have 30 MPs in total. If they are added to the 125-130 members of the party that wins the elections and accordingly to the bonus of 50 seats, forming a three-party government will be quite possible.

The probability of forming a government involving all parliamentary forces seems to me both difficult and dysfunctional.

If SYRIZA wins the elections, it will go through the painful process of forming a government. A very strong trend is apparent inside the party against forming a coalition with the old parties or parties that voted for the memoranda. This trend is bringing SYRIZA closer to a coalition with Popular Unity, the Communist Party and any other force that opposes the memoranda and will be able to enter parliament.

Personally, I do not see how both trends could survive within SYRIZA. The group of 53, which is supposedly united around Alexis Tsipras and whose leader is former Minister of Finance Efklidis Tsakalotos, states it is against a coalition with PASOK and other parties that have voted in support of the memoranda. The situation is very unclear.

Could things get to a total impasse?

It will be very probable if SYRIZA wins the elections. If New Democracy wins them, there will be no problem. It will form a coalition with PASOK and Potami. And the coalition may involve Vassilis Leventis’ Union of Centrists, if it enters parliament.

But I do not think that New Democracy wants SYRIZA to participate in such a government coalition. Its leader Evangelos Meimarakis is making pre-election statements in this direction. He wants to create an image of unifier. Actually, there is no need to join SYRIZA. Antonis Samaras had a very painful experience with Democratic Left. It put obstacles to almost all decisions of his cabinet. However, the next government should implement the memorandum at a very fast pace and therefore it must be homogenous.

That is, new elections will be possible if SYRIZA wins the upcoming ones.

Yes, it is very likely. They will be the third elections within one year.

Are there financial resources available for them?

I had also expected the country to collapse but things are going on in some way. We have capital controls, yet pensions are paid, etc. I suppose that having new elections by the end of the year will not be a problem. Furthermore, our foreign partners already know us perfectly well and show understanding. By this, I mean that we should not think that elections would entirely solve the problem.

It is still early for a forecast despite polls. I do not even know how they reflect the actual proportion between the parties, in view of their failure to predict the referendum outcome.

My feeling is that the dynamics of New Democracy is growing as we are approaching the elections. It has a political line, while SYRIZA does not have one. This is the main problem of SYRIZA. The strong hand of the radical left is Alexis Tsipras but he is no longer so "fresh" in the eyes of voters.

On the other hand, Evangelos Meimarakis is a pleasant surprise for New Democracy and I think that, albeit with a narrow margin, the conservatives will win the elections and the 50-seats bonus. If we take into account the internal problems that SYRIZA will face after the elections, New Democracy will set things in the right direction.

Tags: PoliticsEarly electionsSYRIZANew DemocracyCoalition cabinetPolls
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