On the 25th January over 9 million Greeks will be eligible to vote in a snap general election after the parliament in Athens failed to elect a new president.
Greece has a single tier parliament and on Sunday over 300 members will be elected through a system of majority and proportional representation. To form a majority a party needs 151 seats or more, with the winning party being awarded 50-seat bonus.
Syriza, a relatively new political party, is predicted to win the election, but not with have an overall majority according to pollsters.
The anti-austerity party, as you can imagine, is proving very popular with Greeks fed up with their country’s bailout plan and the politicians who negotiated it.
The party’s leader Alexis Tsipras, 40, has toned down his anti-EU bailout rhetoric recently, perhaps acknowledging that he can’t promise too much if he becomes the country’s prime minister on Monday. He recently said that he wants Greece to stay in the euro, but he says he stills wants to end austerity and renegotiate Greece’s debt.
Current opinion polls are putting Syriza between 28-35% of the vote, compared to 25-30% for their nearest rival, New Democracy.
It’s understandable why so many voters are intending to vote for a party who appear to be standing up for Greece, compared to the establishment parties who negotiated the country’s bailout plans and appeared to bow down to European pressures.
We should remember that Greece has borrowed nearly £185billion from the EU and the IMF. The next government still has to negotiate a bailout fund of a further €7.2billion. There are still tough choices a head for whoever forms the next government.
However, no party is expected to win the election outright on Sunday night, even with Syriza riding high in the polls. A coalition government is very likely.
There are several small parties that may be interested in forming a coalition. Pasok, the socialist party that once used to dominate Greek politics is now only achieving 4-5% in the polls. But Pasok would demand that Syriza complete bailout negotiations with the EU & IMF.
There is also ‘The River,’ formed in mid-2014 by former journalist Stavros Theodorakis in response to politics being dominated by ‘long-established’ party politics.
‘The Independent Greeks,’ an anti-bailout party is another coalition contender. The party was formed as a splinter of New Democracy in 2012, they share little ideological ground with Syriza, but their anti-austerity rhetoric could land them a deal.
Voters in Greece will be heading to the polls on Sunday (25th January) with results expected to be announced on Monday.