While Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seems set to win a vote of confidence in Parliament after his coalition partner, the Independent Greeks (ANEL) quit, he’s on course to be beaten handily by the major opposition New Democracy he unseated in 2015.
The New York-city based consultancy risk Eurasia Group said Tsipras has a 60 percent chance to stay in office and win the confidence vote but Greek newspapers said it’s a near 100 percent certainty after a number of rival party lawmakers said they would back him.
He called for the vote after his former coalition partner, the tiny, pro-austerity, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) quit when its leader, then-Defense Minister Panos Kammenos pulled out in objection to a deal Tsipras made to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), giving away the name of an ancient abutting Greek province.
With elections required to be held by October and Tsipras and his Radical Left SYRIZA trailing badly in polls, a Eurasia Group Note said it’s more likely the vote will be in May to coincide with European Parliament elections.
New Democracy, the report said, is expected to win an absolute majority without needing a coalition partner with SYRIZA having fallen so far in surveys after Tsipras repeatedly reneged on anti-austerity promises and two-thirds of Greeks opposed to the FYROM deal.
Eurasia Group added that Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party is likely to win by such a margin it won’t need a partner, with polls showing SYRIZA second and a split whether the center-left Movement for Change or the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn, whose 15 lawmakers and dozens of members are in the fourth year of a trial on charges of running a criminal gang with neo-Nazi tactics will be third.
“Irrespective of timing, we think main opposition New Democracy (ND) led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis will win the next election with an absolute majority,” it said.
In its analysis of the Jan. 16 scheduled vote of confidence, Eurasia Group said four lawmakers from Kammenos’ ANEL are likely to defect and back Tsipras.
“We also continue to expect the vote to ratify the Prespes agreement to be approved later this month, also by a narrow margin,” it said, referring to the FYROM deal under the name of Lake Prespes, which borders both countries and where it was signed.
The group described Kammenos’ departure from the SYRIZA-led coalition as “an opportunity for Tsipras to rid his government of ANEL’s nationalist flair and to appeal to moderate and centrist voters” ahead of national elections, said Kathimerini.
It added that moving the elections to May could help SYRIZA and Tsipras but not enough to prevent a resounding defeat but enough to hold on to more seats than otherwise expected after his constant reneging.
“Doing so could help SYRIZA cut its losses in light of its declining support. The government also calculates that holding parliamentary elections in conjunction with local and European elections will give voters other avenues to air their discontent with the government,” it said.