ATHENS – It’s a little more than a year away – if not sooner – but Greece’s ruling New Democracy government is said to be lining up its ducks to maintain one-party rule by winning the 2023 elections, even if takes two rounds.
For the first time, the elections will be proportional, the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA eliminating a 50-seat bonus to the first-place finisher in an apparent bid by the Leftists to have some sense of power even if they lose.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, withstanding verbal shots from SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, is readying for a pre-election campaign during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and as he deals with rising inflation and soaring costs for households.
The change brought by SYRIZA makes it unlikely that any party, including New Democracy, would get a majority vote in a first round of elections and a second would be required with an enhanced majority or bonus system which will allow the winning party to form a single-party government, said Kathimerini.
The Conservatives said the paper – which is philosophically close to New Democracy – don’t want the first round seen as a primary, believing it could lead to complacency and require a coalition government, the apparent aim of SYRIZA to get back to power even as a junior partner with its political enemy.
Mitsotakis wants his party to get 33-34 percent of the vote in the first round to build momentum for an outright win but that will depend on how many parties get into Parliament, with 3 percent of the vote needed.
According to estimates, New Democracy will need to secure 37.5 percent or more in the second election to form a single-party government, the report said, wanting to gain majority rule in the Parliament.
New Democracy has held leads up to 14 percent over SYRIZA but the Leftists have been trying to claw their way back to popularity after Tsipras reneged on virtually every promise he made during his 4 1/2-year reign that ended in an ignominious defeat in 2019 to the Conservatives in a rout.