In a polling station in Athens, June 25, 2023. THANASSIS STAVRAKIS / AP
Five weeks only after the last ballot, the Greeks are again called to the polls on Sunday June 25 for the legislative elections. Former right-wing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is a big favorite and hopes this time to win an absolute majority to form “a stable government”.
Facing him, the leader of the left Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, promised to fight “until the last second” despite the bitter rout of his camp in the previous election on May 21. Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local (6 a.m. French time) and will close at 7 p.m.
Big favorite in the polls, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of government from 2019 at the end of May, won a big victory five weeks ago by winning 40.8% of the vote. Syriza’s double. But this advance, the magnitude of which surprised analysts, did not bring him the absolute majority required to form a government without having to forge an alliance.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Elections in Greece: the right obtains a clear victory, but not enough to form a government
New Democracy could win points
Coming from a large family of political leaders, the leader of New Democracy (ND) had ruled out building a coalition and called for new elections. The latest polls this time grant the right between 37.8% and 45% of voting intentions.
A former Harvard student who had a career in finance in London, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is counting on a voting system which this time grants the party that came out on top a “bonus” of up to 50 seats.
But the 55-year-old faces two potential pitfalls. On the one hand, the possible weariness of the voters, called twice to the polls in five weeks and who could favor the beaches on this summer Sunday. On the other hand, the crumbling of the voices, in particular on the right of the conservatives where three small formations dispute the votes of the sympathizers of the extreme right. They must register at least 3% of the votes to send deputies to sit in Parliament. However, the number of parties represented in the Vouli, the Greek Parliament, will arithmetically have consequences on the number of seats allocated to New Democracy.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Elections in Greece: the reasons for the success of the right of Kyriakos Mitsotakis
The specter of a third election this summer
On Friday, Mr. Mitsotakis raised the specter… of a third ballot in the heart of summer when most Greeks take their holidays. “I hope that we will not have to see each other again at the beginning of August”, he thus dropped on the Skaï television channel, adding: “It is not a joke! »
For Syriza, which recorded only 20.07% of the vote during the legislative elections of May 21 (a fall of 11.5 points compared to 2019), the decline could be further accentuated. The forecasts place it between 16.8% and 20% of voting intentions.
The World App
The Morning of the World
Every morning, find our selection of 20 articles not to be missed
Download the app
By largely turning away from Syriza, the Greeks have shown that they definitely want to turn the page on the years of bitter financial crisis and bailouts with drastic conditions that have considerably impoverished them.
Opposite, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has also continued to brandish his economic record, marked by growth of 8.3% in 2021 and 5.9% in 2022 and falling unemployment. But Mr Tsipras, a former troublemaker on the radical left in Europe, warned against giving Mitsotakis a “blank cheque” to carry out a “hidden agenda” of policies undoing social gains. The future at the head of Syriza of the former prime minister (2015-2019) who demonstrated to denounce the “arrogance” of the right, should largely be decided during these elections. After the stinging setback of May 21, he had already admitted to having considered resigning.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Greece, behind the economic recovery, the social crisis persists