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Politics

Tsipras Felt The Pain in Elections Drubbing, But Won’t Give Up

ATHENS – Despite taking a more than 20 percent beating in May 21 elections – worse than an 11 percent drubbing in July, 2019 snap polls he called – SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras isn’t throwing in the towel ahead of a second ballot June 25.

He emerged from several days of reflecting on the pounding administered by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the New Democracy rout of the Leftists to say he’s regrouping for the fight.

“The result of the elections is a shock for us… unexpectedly painful,” he said, and it showed on a stony face of seeming resignation before he later said he was ready to take on Mitsotakis again in the face of overwhelming odds.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/greek-election-deals-bitter-blow-152024370.html

It was Tsipras’s fourth defeat to Mitsotakis at local, national and European elections since 2019 he called after reneging on virtually all his anti-austerity promises – which voters remembered in abandoning SYRIZA in droves.

Tsipras lost by more than a million votes – the same amount of votes lost since he won in 2015 on the back of bitterness against mainstream parties before his followed the same lines in imposing pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions.

In the waning days of power in 2019 his government changed electoral laws to remove a 50-seat bonus in the 300-member Parliament in an attempt to force coalitions but the beating was so bad that didn’t happen.

New Democracy amended the law to provide a sliding scale up to 50 seats in the second round and is a heavy favorite to repeat the thumping with SYRIZA in disarray and the third-place PASOK-KINAL center left with only 11.46 percent.

“I am here. I will not give up, SYRIZA is here and will remain so,” he said even as there was infighting between party members over the dismal showing, especially losing young voters to the Conservatives.

An “all-powerful” government would be “bad for democracy and for the country,” he said in another swipe at New Democracy single-party rule in a continuation of the kind of negative campaigning that voters rejected.

Analysts said he concentrated his attack on Mitsotakis and New Democracy with projecting  plan for the post-pandemic future that has seen his rivals accelerating economic growth and urging voters to put the past behind them.

“SYRIZA conducted a problematic campaign,” political analyst Panagiotis Koustenis told state TV ERT. “It did not appear before the electorate as a competent alternative to New Democracy,” he said.

Tsipras made no headway in complaining about a surveillance scandal, the deaths of 57 people in a train collision largely blamed on the government failing to implement safety measures, or the high cost of food and taxes.

In the final days before the election, Tsipras was also criticised for publicly appealing to former voters of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, whose leaders were jailed in 2020, the report noted.

Gerasimos Moschonas, Professor of Comparative Politics at Panteion University, said SYRIZA rought together “a coalition of dissatisfied people: dissatisfied with their personal finances, dissatisfied with the institutions.”

That was a minority. “The dissatisfied do not give a majority,” he said.

“The responsibility for the citizens who did not vote for us is ours, for not being able to convince them. The result was a painful shock. And the responsibility is primarily mine,” he said.

But instead of retreating he resumed defiance at the results and the prospects of the party fading into the irrelevance it had before 2015 and voter anger propelled him into the forefront.

“I am not hiding, I never hid, I took responsibility and I fought the battle,” he said, vowing to fight against the tide that seems set to sweep SYRIZA aside once again.

“SYRIZA is and will remain a party of power, not a party of protest, not a party that complements the right,” he also said.

“It is time today … to declare an end to mourning and sound the battle alarm.” “That is our responsibility today: to regroup, to regroup immediately. Now. Without delay. And to fight the new electoral battle,” he said.

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