Balkans | Greek elections and the new election law

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Balkans |  Greek elections and the new election law

The turnout of 60 percent is low and indicates that the public’s belief in the possibility of potential change in the country through elections is very low.

assistant. doctor. Saturn Mert Ozuner wrote an assessment of the Greek elections that took place on May 21 in 3 questions for AA Analysis.

1 • How did the electoral process progress in Greece?

Greece, a parliamentary democracy, went to the polls on Sunday, May 21, 2023, to elect the government and parliamentarians who will lead the country in the next four-year period. The elections, in which 27 parties contested in total, are also significant as the elections in which the new election law was applied for the first time. According to the requirements of this law, voters over 17 years of age have started to vote and Greek citizens abroad can also participate in the elections. One of the most important innovations in the law was the abolition of the practice that allowed an additional 50 deputies to be awarded to the party that received the most votes. The former Radical Left coalition government, SYRIZA, had enacted the new election law by targeting fairness in representation. With this new system, the practice of obtaining additional seats not in the first round promises to award 20 additional seats to each party that receives more than 25 percent of the vote in the second round, and an additional seat for every 0.25 percent of the additional vote. vote. This system, which introduced the practice of re-election in the event that a majority could not be obtained to form the government in the first elections, also led to many question marks regarding the inter-election period. In the event that the New Democracy Party firmly wins power, it is expected to return to the old regime.

The turnout for the election, in which 9.8 million voters voted, is unofficial [1] According to the results, 60.82 percent and the New Democracy Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, won 146 deputies with 40.69 percent of the vote, completing the elections.

As for the other five parties that entered parliament, they are as follows: the Radical Left Movement, Syriza (20.07 percent), PASOK KENAL Party (11.51 percent), the Communist Party of Greece (7.21 percent), and the Greek Solution (4.45 percent). Although it is often stated that the New Democracy Party will enter into a coalition with PASOK-KINAL in order to form a government from the 6-party parliament, Mitsotakis represents 45 percent. [2] He is expected to go for re-election to reach the division and form a stronger government. As a matter of fact, Mitsotakis said in his remarks, “Only strong governments can push forward with bold reforms.” [3].

2 • What do the results say?

In light of the political crisis that followed the economic crisis that has been going on since 2009 and has taken the country under its influence in all respects, many coalition governments have come to power, but political stability has not been achieved. Alexis Tsipras and Syriza, elected in 2015, tried to find alternative solutions to the existing economic and political crisis. They drew attention with their anti-Western, anti-EU and anti-capitalist rhetoric.

The New Democracy Party, which came to power after the 2019 elections, promised a young leader from the Mitsotakis family, one of the important families in Greek politics, to give importance to the liberal economy, more integration with the European Union and Atlantic relations.

After the ten-year period between 2012-2022, which was overshadowed by discussions of the economic crisis, Mitsotakis, who proposed fiscal discipline and further integration in the European Union, received public support again in Greece, which was experiencing an election campaign period where other topics were mentioned for the first time. .

On the other hand, opposition parties expressed concerns about the rule of law in their election campaign after the scandals of the Tempe train accident in which 57 people died and the illegal interception of many lawmakers and bureaucrats. Faced with the business-oriented modernization stance of Mitsotakis, the demand for a return to populist politics was also expressed. The European Union criticized her on the rule of law [4] Mitsotakis’ government also stands out for its tougher measures on immigrants.

Greek voter turnout can also be seen as an important factor. The turnout of 60 percent is low and indicates that the public’s belief in the possibility of potential change in the country through elections is very low. However, given that this rate was 58% in 2019, it must be emphasized that the share position is better, albeit by a small margin. Because in 2019, the country was still going through deep shocks regarding economic reforms and discussions continued on how to find solutions to these problems. Today, however, in Greece, which started a path of continuation within the rules of liberal economics and reached a relatively smoother situation, the debts are still very large and the repayments painful for the Greek people. Greece still has at least 10 years to mitigate, if not complete, the repayment process; It must carry out serious reforms in the fields of health, education and the economy.

3 • How will the elections affect Turkish-Greek relations?

Mitsotakis, who came to power in 2019, has exploited many issues such as the migrant crisis with Turkey and the crisis of sharing maritime jurisdictions in the eastern Mediterranean since 2020. As a matter of fact, it was the security rhetoric, which was also prominent during the electoral campaign process It mostly revolves around Turkey. For example, while scheduling elections, Mitsotakis’ statements about Turkey attracted attention. [5] The scheduling of elections in Turkey was explained by the reaction of protecting the country from a threat from Turkey in the country’s power vacuum, and trying to get votes from the right-wing nationalist. voters.

Today, there are no major changes in the main issues of contention in Turkish-Greek relations. With a strong right-wing government in place in Greece, a foreign policy aimed at gaining ground in favor of Greece on bilateral issues by assessing the geopolitical preferences and priorities of global and regional actors will come as no surprise.






[Doç. Dr. Zuhal Mert Uzuner, Marmara Üniversitesi Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü öğretim görevlisidir.]

* The ideas expressed in the articles belong to the author and may not reflect Anadolu Agency’s editorial policy.

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