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Politics

New Democracy Mulls 50 Bonus Seats for Elections Winner

September 6, 2022

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, facing a furious reelection campaign in 2023, is said to be looking at changing his mind and bring back a 50-seat bonus in Parliament for the winner – his New Democracy government in the lead.

The former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA eliminated the bonus seats in the 300-member Parliament in a move which critics said was designed to give it influence or a possible coalition seat in the elections where it’s unlikely any party can win a majority in a first round.

If so, that would lead to a second election with a bonus unless a coalition of two or more parties is formed after a first divisive round which could further fracture Greek politics and society and bring more volatility.

Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou and Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis added to talk about restoring the electoral law and the 50 seats, claiming it’s necessary now, said Kathimerini.

“The need for stability is now much more pronounced and more demanding than before” and “this cannot be ignored,” Oikonomou said although Mitsotakis previously said he wouldn’t tamper with the law.

Oikonomou said that, “The electoral law should reflect electoral correlations and lead to strong and stable governments,” without mentioning that it would greatly favor New Democracy.

Gerapetritis noted that a climate is being formed which undermines the possibility of partnerships. “What is the alternative?” he asked, suggesting only a one-party New Democracy government was viable.

The current electoral law is based on proportional representation in which seats in Parliament would be allocated based on a percentage of the vote won and not give a bonus.

But while the 50-seat return is seen as a possibility, the paper said a more complicated scenario would provide additional seats giving 20 to the first party that gets 20 percent of the vote and then every half-percent over 25 percent would earn another seat.

That means that a single-party government – New Democracy if current surveys hold although the party is under blistering attacks from rivals – would be hit at about 36 percent of the vote, instead of up 39 percent under the current system, hard to achieve.

A third scenario foresees an extra bonus of one seat for every one percent point between the parties. If the first and second parties are six points apart, the first party would get an extra six seats, in addition to the ones it is entitled to from the bonus, the report said about the convoluted ideas.

Changing the law could put Mitsotakis in a difficult position to defend himself for breaking his word and ironically, the paper said, remove the polarization that could bring a single-party government.

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