Greek Prime Minister Takes Out Second Elections

PM Resigns, Becomes PM Again

Alexis Tsipras and his left-wing anti-austerity party Syriza have won their second election in less than nine months.

The snap elections were called earlier this year after Tsipras resigned in late August amid the Greek financial crisis. Tsipras said shortly after his resignation that he felt his government required a fresh mandate from the public.

The need for a new mandate came after a hotly debated bailout deal was finalised with Greece’s international creditors.

The 20 September poll saw Syriza garner 35.46 percent of the vote, winning 145 seats in the 300 seat Hellenic parliament. The party lost four seats. 

The main opposition party, New Democracy, trailed behind at 28.10 percent of the vote and won 75 seats, down one since January.

“I want to be honest with you. We did not achieve the agreement we expected before the January elections,” Tsipras said in a statement after announcing his resignation.

The results shocked Greek political pundits and upset pollster firms. In the weeks leading up to the election, opinion polls had Syriza and New Democracy neck and neck, with the difference within the margin of error. 

Although safely in front at the end of election day, Syriza found itself just shy of an outright parliamentary majority. The lack of majority has forced Syriza to return to its pre-election partnership with right-of-centre nationalists, the Independent Greeks. The Independent Greeks are a splinter group of former New Democracy MPs.

Controversial far-right ultranationalists, Golden Dawn, drew 6.99 percent of the vote to win one new seat, securing 18 seats in total.

Turnout was at 56.57 per cent of Greece’s registered voters, a 7.05 percent drop from January’s election.

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2015.
Posted 11:46am Sunday 27th September 2015 by George Elliott.