ATHENS – Greek elections will likely be held so that a second that seems almost certain because a first-round winner won’t be able to form a government are seeing being timed to match those in Turkey, expected May 14.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reportedly is looking at ways to avoid giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is becoming more hostile, a window to take advantage of an interim government if two elections are needed.
The scenarios being discussed in the Greek media point to April 9 as the first choice for the elections as it would see many Greeks in their villages for Easter on April 16, where many vote.
Erdogan is facing a challenge this time around – but trying to jail rivals and block his critics – and ramping up his ultra-nationalist base with threats of invading Greece and “come suddenly one night.”
Mitsotakis has seen his lead slip in polls to under 7 percent over the major opposition and former ruling SYRIZA after leading by twice that before a phone bugging scandal enveloped his New Democracy government.
Under a change in electoral laws rammed through the Parliament it controlled before being routed in July, 2019 snap polls, SYRIZA removed a 50-seat bonus for the first-place finisher in elections in the 300-member Parliament.
With the rise of the formerly dormant and newly-christened PASOK-KINAL center-left Movement for Change to about 14 percent in surveys, the chances of any party gaining enough of the vote to rule outright is slim.
Barring a coalition after a first round, Greece would go to a second ballot – most probably May 14 too – and try again, this time with 30 bonus seats given the winner under changes passed by a New Democracy controlled Parliament.
Another possibility, reports said, is for Greek elections on May 14 and June 22 but the second would run up against university entrance exams and give Erdogan – if he wins – an open playing field against a temporary Greek government.