With more than two years of cuts, layoffs, unemployment and…suicides’ rising toll, Greeks expressed their resentment over the political establishment yesterday, in what appeared to be one of the most low-key general elections. There were no massive rallies, not excessive use of promotional material whilst for the first time, socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy avoided setting up in public space their pre-election campaign kiosks, in case passersby attempt to destroy them.
From the beginning, it appeared unlikely for any political party to win a majority. Some believe that the election results officially dropped the final curtain on polity, the time period from 1974 onward, where PASOK and New Democracy succeeded each other in power. With many voters backing small parties and left-wing Syriza achieving its best result ever with sweeping gains in constituencies that traditionally belonged to rivals, there is a merit on that assumption.
However it’s still very early for rushing to any conclusions. Under this electoral system, New Democracy and PASOK get 139 seats with 32.03% of the votes but still cannot build a pro-bailout coalition. The anti-bailout Syriza on the other side, strives to achieve an alliance of left leaning politicians. However Communist Party’s leader Aleka Papariga has already rejected twice the option to be part of it, making it less likely to happen. Right-wing Panos Kammenos, leader of anti-bailout Independent Greeks has been vague, as he avoided living much room for negotiations with Syriza and was strongly opposing any cooperation with ND and PASOK. Fotis Kouvelis of the Democratic Left, refused to join any pro-bailout coalition with ND and PASOK and is allegedly keen for an alliance with progressive forces.
A.Samaras received today a formal mandate from President Karolos Papoulias, to try and form a coalition government with other parties. Since his efforts failed, the mandate will pass tomorrow Tuesday on Syriza that came 2nd in Sunday’s elections. A.Tsipras will then have 3 days time to come to an end. In case his talks fail as well, then the mandate passes on Venizelos. No agreement would prompt to new elections within weeks.
Bottom line a coalition government needs political agreement on behalf of the parties involved. With the fragmentation of the popular vote though, the most likely scenario is a second round of elections. There is strong evidence that politics has reached a moment and the public might see leaders’ twists and turns so they don’t get the blame for incompetency to form a coalition.