ATHENS - With Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras failing to deliver on a promise to let the Diaspora vote, Greeks living in other European Union countries gave the major rival New Democracy an 18.61 percent edge over his ruling Radical Left SYRIZA in the May 26 polls for Greek municipalities and the European Parliament.
That was just about double the near 9.5 percent victory the Conservatives won after Tsipras said he would prevail, but then was forced to call snap elections for July 7 to prevent what seems a likely New Democracy return to power from becoming an all-out rout.
Tsipras unseated New Democracy in January, 2015 elections on the promise to reverse austerity but almost immediately reneged, imposing more on orders of European creditors to get a third bailout, of 86 billion euros ($95.92 billion).
He’s been trying to wiggle out of since, handing out pension bonuses and cutting taxes ahead of the May 26 elections, cutting New Democracy’s lead in half but still drubbed with some 600,000 disenchanted voters leaving SYRIZA.
Greek EU Ex-patriates gave New Democracy 33.89 percent of their vote compared to only 15.28 percent for SYRIZA. The votes were cast in EU member-states by registered Greek voters, but they are not eligible to vote in the July 7 polls.
Nearly 15,000 Greek citizens voted from specific polling stations in EU countries, almost an 80 percent turnout, media reports said.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was third outside Greece, with 14.06 percent, followed by the center-left coalition Movement for Change (KINAL) at 8.5 percent. Curiously, the To Potami party gained 4.95 percent but did so poorly in Greece the party isn’t even running in the general elections.
The ultra-extreme rightist Golden Dawn party accused of using neo-Nazi tactics - with all 15 lawmakers on trial on charges of running a criminal gang - got 3.58 percent while former Greek finance chief Yanis Varoufaki’s new , MeRA25 (Diem25) got 3.25 percent.