The Strategist

Tsipras is losing Greece

05/28/2019 - 11:19

Greek voters turned away from Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party during the elections to the European Parliament and within the local elections held on the same day. The oppositional conservative party New Democracy, which outperformed Syriza by 9% in the elections to the EP, went ahead. Such a gap, of course, is very large, given that Syriza is the ruling party.

The local elections are no less sad. Despite the fact that only the first round was held at the regional elections last Sunday, it is already clear that the party of Prime Minister will also face a crushing defeat.

“After the second round of regional elections (on June 2), I will ask President to immediately call early elections,” Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address to the Greek people. He was markedly upset by the results of Sunday’s elections. “I will not give up and will not give up the fight for equality, solidarity and social justice".

In the elections to the European Parliament, Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party won less than 24% of the votes of Greek voters and lost to the conservative party New Democracy, which has more than 33%. Turnout in the elections to the EP in Greece was 57%. New Democracy won in most constituencies in more than half of the 13 Greek regions.

“This is a firm and decisive message...” leader of the New Democracy party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, commented on the elections’ results. “People no longer trust Syriza.”

Candidates from the New Democracy are leading in the election of mayors in the largest cities of Greece - in Athens and Thessaloniki - although they will need second rounds to establish the winners there.

Socialist party KINAL (formerly PASOK) is the third in the elections to the European Parliament (gained a little more than 7%). It is followed by the KKE Communist Party with 5.7%. Neo-Nazis from the Golden Dawn, whose leaders are under investigation and accused of a whole bunch of crimes, including killing an anti-fascist rapper, performed poorly. Having received less than 5% of the vote, it dropped to the fifth place.

Syriza's allies believe that Alexis Tsipras use the fact that he has been Head of government for so long despite the fact that he had to abandon his campaign promises to move away from austerity policies and drastic cost cuts, imposed by international lenders.

In August 2015, i.e. less than a year after coming to power, Tsipras had already resigned after he had to accept an unpopular aid program, the third since 2008. At the same time, hard line supporters broke away from Syriza.

Under the leadership of Alexis Tsipras, Greece gradually began to emerge from the deepest recession. Unemployment has significantly decreased in the country, but the modest growth of the economy has returned. Most recently, Prime Minister announced a tax cut on food and catering establishments, as well as on energy. In addition, he ordered to pay additional benefits to the poorest pensioners.

One of the main reasons for the defeat of Syriza could well be the agreement concluded by Athens with Macedonia in June 2018 regarding the change of the last name to North Macedonia. The leader of the Independent Greeks party, Panos Kammenos, wrote on Twitter: “Syriza committed suicide by making a deal to change the name of Macedonia.”

Many are dissatisfied with this agreement in Greece and Macedonia. Greek nationalists and conservatives could well now take revenge on Tsipras.