ATHENS – As Greece’s campaign is starting to heat up with elections coming in the spring as soon as April, the major SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance predicted victory in the first round of what’s expected to be two ballots, and then prevail.
The party’s Central Committee Secretary Rania Svigou told Real News she was confident that SYRIZA, ousted in July, 2019 snap elections, will prevail over the ruling New Democracy and set up a second ballot.
That’s because SYRIZA – when it was then called the Radical Left – during its last days in office passed a law removing a 50-seat bonus in the 300-member Parliament for whichever party wins an election.
That made it almost impossible for a victor to gain a majority in Parliament and form a government without needing to resort to a coalition, and requiring a second round in which the winner would get 30 more seats.
She said SYRIZA will win and take power again although polls show that New Democracy has a lead of 5.9 percent that has fallen from almost 14 percent, the trouble starting with the phone bugging and accusations of spyware use that the government denied.
SYRIZA has taken to sniping at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over his handling of a surveillance scandal in which the National Intelligence Service EYP admitted bugging the phones of 15,745 people.
That includes some of the government’s own ministers as well as military leaders, journalists and business owners in the name of “national security” without saying what they’re suspected of or naming them.
The Leftists brought a doomed no-confidence vote against the government which easily turned it back, having 156 seats in the Parliament but giving rivals three days of debate and public attention.
That saw SYRIZA to complain loudly and Svigou said while the censure motion lost that taking it was a “necessary move to protect democracy and the institutions” and had given voters a chance to “hear the evasions, the tragicomic arguments clung to by a guilty Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a politically isolated and tottering prime minister with just days to remain in power.”
She accused ruling party lawmakers of responding by “slinging mud” and thus “confirming the Prime Minister’s guilt,” while promising that SYRIZA will ultimately take power again and investigation phone tapping.
Svigou also repeated the party’s proposals for tackling the high cost of living, such as reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes but didn’t mention that it had reneged on virtually all its promises while in power.