A Historic Left Victory – Government Suffers Embarrassing Losses

Euro-election celebrations

Euro-election celebrations

A historic victory for SYRIZA in the Euro-elections and massive gains in the regional elections saw SYRIZA take control of the largest regional government in the country (Attiki) and narrowly miss out on taking Athens.

The headline result, showed the anti-Austerity party has won the greatest number of votes in the Euro-elections. The latest figures show SYRIZA to have won 26.7% compared to 23.3% for the ruling New Democracy party. The PASOK party did not even run candidates under its own name fearing the backlash that was coming. But even its rebranded ‘Olive tree’ grouping showed a spectacular collapse in its vote, dropping to less than 9%.

Syriza declared that its nationwide victory in the European parliament polls was a historic milestone for Greece and Europe, as it represents the first time a genuine leftwing  (as opposed to a social democrat party) has finished first.

In declaring a “historic victory” for the left, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras called for elections as soon as possible, declaring that the result delegitimises the government at home and in the EU.

Tsipras noted that the returns show that if these were general elections, Syriza would have gained 130 parliamentary seats, and New Democracy just 69.

He said New Democracy dropped seven percentage points from its June 2012 showing, while Pasok lost five points since 2012.

Tsipras pledged to forge a “progressive and patriotic” social alliance that can garner a large majority in the next general elections.

The worrying emergence of the far-right has not diminished. While Golden Dawn did not poll as highly as it did during the first round of regional elections, it has polled around 9% in the Euro-elections. This is indeed worrying when linked to the strong performance of other right-wing pro-nationalist forces across Europe.

Government MPs and pro-government media recognised Syriza’s clean nationwide victory, but they cobbled together a series of arguments to downplay the political significance of that victory. That included Syriza’s failure to reach the goal of exceeding the combined percentages of ruling coalition partners New Democracy and Pasok.

But as one wag tweeted:

Όπως είπε κι ο Κώστας Βαξεβάνης στο «STAR», «ο Βενιζέλος θα κάνει νόμο με τον οποίο θα κερδίζει ο δεύτερος τις εκλογές»…translation “Venizelos (the Pasok leader) will introduce a law to declare that the second place getter wins the election”.

Particulalry embarrasing for the government has been the loss of sttrongholds in the regional elections, including the arch-conservative Sparti locality to the left-wing candidate Evangellos Baliotis.

 

See more in Greek here

Further reporting in English here and here

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