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Politics

Greek Elections Seen Coming April 9, Campaigning Underway

February 19, 2023

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hasn’t set the date of spring snap polls yet, but signs are pointing toward April 9, a week before Easter when many people will be in their villages and islands where they vote.

Mitsotakis’ New Democracy government has seen its lead cut in half from around 14 percent to about 6 percent in recent surveys after constant sniping from his major rival, the SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance of former premier Alexis Tsipras.

The Leftists rebranded themselves from the Radical Left after taking a beating in July, 2019 snap elections that Tsipras called, only to see himself routed after breaking all his promises during a 4 ½ year reign.

But Tsipras has been relentlessly pounding Mitsotakis over a phone bugging scandal that won’t go away despite the government’s best attempts to bury it, including threatening prosecution of anyone who reveals details.

Greek media said that the positioning of parties who already in campaign mode and attacking each other, indicated that April 9 is the best bet especially because changes in electoral laws brought by SYRIZA while in power make a first-round ballot winner unable to form a government.

SYRIZA removed a 50-seat bonus for whomever wins, making it unlikely any party in the country’s fractured political landscape would get enough of the vote to gain a majority in the 300-member Parliament.

Barring a coalition, that would require a second election a few weeks later that would the first-place finisher 30 extra seats although a confident Tsipras predicted a first-round knockout and return to power.

Mitsotakis has been appealing to voters to reject the Leftists as he’s bringing a faster recovery for the economy as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, SYRIZA having held down foreign investors and blocking the now started 8-billion euro ($8.57 billion) development of the abandoned Hellenikon airport site.

Party leaders have been stepping up appearances and the country’s third-largest, the resurging PASOK-KINAL Movement for Change center-left has been gaining in popularity under Nikos Androulakis, a Member of the European Parliament.

Campaign ads that generate revenue for the media are beginning to appear as well and Mitsotakis has been announcing more handouts to woo voters, another sign he’s ready to declare the date, media reports said.

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