ATHENS – Pointing toward a suddenly-divided France over elections there and wanting to avoid a messy and elongated campaign, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is said to be considering snap elections now.
He has repeatedly said he would serve out his four-year term into the middle of 2023 after a 2018 rout ousted the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – rebranded as SYRIZA – now sniping at his government.
Dealing with the highest inflation in 28 years, fears of the COVID-19 pandemic surging again and soaring prices across the board in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and Turkish provocations – Mitsotakis is finding himself on the defensive more, giving the Leftists an opening.
Some advisors, said Kathimerini, want him to seize the moment now and try to push SYRIZA back again even though the Leftists, while in power, changed electoral laws to take away a 50-seat bonus for an election winner.
That means that even if New Democracy wins but fails to get a majority that it could lead to second election and more slogans and mud-slinging, or a coalition government – SYRIZA perhaps a likely odd couple partner.
In an interview with the Capital website, talking aboutFrance where President Emmanuel Macron is facing a tough challenge – he and Mitsotakis created a mutual military defense deal – the Greek leader acknowledged a seeming change in his thinking about snap polls in Greece.
“The phenomenon of France, especially with regard to the abstention that has been observed, is too fresh to ignore,” he said, noting that many French don’t care who wins anymore and have given up on politics.
“I have said many times that my intention is to serve the four years, because I consider this to be institutionally correct and imperative,” he said. But he also said that a prolonger pre-election period “is definitely something that the country does not need” right now.
What could determine his path may be a higher education reform bill set for debate in May although New Democracy controls the Parliament and can push through any legislation it wants, but likely to face vehement opposition from SYRIZA which opposes higher standards for schools and universities.
“This will also be a measure of how the opposition perceives the political confrontation and how much it ultimately seeks to escalate things,” he said, reported Kathimerini, saying it seems like elections are coming in September.