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Politics

Mitsotakis Rules Out Early Polls, Any Electoral Laws Rechanges

ATHENS – His New Democracy government battling trouble on a number of fronts, from inflation to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he won’t call early elections nor change an electoral law passed by his major rival and former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.

Then-premier and Leftist leader Alexis Tsipras, in the waning days of his 4 ½ year broken when ousted in July, 23, 2018 snap elections by New Democracy, rammed through Parliament an amendment stripping first-place finishers in elections of a 50-seat bonus in Parliament.

Without that, even with leads of 10-14 percent in surveys, if New Democracy wins again it likely fall short of a 151 seat in the 300-member Parliament where Mitsotakis’ party now has 158 seats.

That would mean either a second election to try to get a majority and rule without a partner or forming a coalition with one or more parties, with SYRIZA having a hold on second place in surveys.

Besides the domestic difficulties he’s facing, Mitsotakis has been in the forefront of supporting Ukraine during an invasion by Russia, with the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, under siege, home to some 150,00o ethnic Greeks.

“We have a war and you are proposing early elections that might as well be double?” Mitsotakis told Tsipras during a debate in Parliament, said Kathimerini, the Leftist leader continuing to snipe.

“It’s quite likely that a caretaker government might be needed for two or three months,” Mitsotakis added, referring to the likelihood no party would win a majority because of the SYRIZA law critics said was passed to blunt the Conservatives edge.

“You can be asking for early elections until you turn blue; elections will take place at the end of the four-year term,” said Mitsotakis, adding again he will stay in his seat until the next scheduled elections in the summer of 2023.

But the newspaper noted that virtually every government has rejected any idea of snap elctions until calling them and had earlier reported that some leading members of his party pushed him to call elections because its big lead.

The Constitution mandates that an electoral law comes into effect in the second election after it is voted so that a ruling government can’t have a distinct advantage, although that could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of Parliament.

 

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