An election that polls and commentators were calling “too close to call” just hours before voting was to begin, Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party swept to power in what was a clear mandate from voters with a seven point lead over main rivals New Democracy, led by Evangelos Meimarakis with a 35% to 28% margin.
Although down from its January 2015 results— and short of majority necessary to form its own government, Tsipras openly hinted at a repeat coalition with the nationalist Independent Greeks (Anel) party led by Panos Kammenos— the same party with which Syriza shared power before Tsipras’ resignation.
Tsipras welcomed Kammenos on stage during his victory speech, telling the audience “Together we will continue the struggle we began seven months ago.”
The snap elections on September 20th were called when Syriza lost its majority in parliament when hardline left-wing rebels quit the party in opposition to Tsipras’ signing of the latest €85 billion loan agreement with European creditors.
The rebels went on to form their own party called “Laiki Enotita” or Popular Unity but failed to reach the 3% threshold necessary to win seats in parliament.
Neo Nazi Golden Dawn secured a third place finish in the polls— up from the January elections with 7% of the vote and 18 seats in parliament.
The “Americanization of Greek Politics” with Lowest Voter Turnout in History in Greek National Elections
A commentator on a Greek news channel Skai was discussing with her colleagues the lowest voter turnout in Greece since written records have been kept for election— Only 55% of eligible voters went to the polls on September 20th to elect their next prime minister.
“Voter turnout in Greece has reached an all time low, the Skai News commentator said, “estimated at 55% of the electorate. What we are seeing is the Americanization of Greek politics with more and more people becoming disillusioned with the political establishment and not even voting.”
Low voter turnout in Greece has been analyzed and opined by many. Some said the third election in less than a year was “election fatigue” on many levels and voters just stayed away. For many, voting can be a costly endeavor, having to drive far distances to the towns and villages where they are registered. Many just couldn’t afford the trip.
Greeks have experienced six different governments and four national parliamentary elections since 2009.