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18 July, 2019
 
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Greek elections: The main questions

Greece heads to the polls on Sunday

Athanasios Ellis

Athanasios Ellis

Who will win? This is usually the fundamental question in any election, but very few people seem to have doubts this time around. The outcome of the recent European Parliament election and the bolstered credibility of opinion polls make virtually everyone – both winners and losers in May’s Euro vote, both experts and ordinary voters – believe that New Democracy will win Sunday’s ballot.

Outright majority: It has emerged as the focal point of the election and a strategic objective for the conservative opposition. The prospect of an absolute majority is very likely, but not certain. This is why the New Democracy leadership is cautioning against complacency. At the same time, conservative officials appear confident of a landslide victory. It’s a tricky equation for the party’s communication strategy.

An ND government: If a parliamentary majority is attained – either through an outright majority or an alliance of parties – the next question will be: How is Kyriakos Mitsotakis going to govern? New Democracy is home to groupings with divergent starting-points and political records, a fact which means Mitsotakis will need to strike a balance. It could sometimes prove a daunting task.

The Karamanlis factor: The former prime minister recently broke his 10-year silence. Still a popular politician, Costas Karamanlis has publicly expressed his support for the current party leader, while sending out a message of unity at a crucial time. Does he want to become the country’s president? And, if so, will the post be offered to him?

The smaller parties: The number of parties (between four and seven) that manage to enter Parliament will be politically but also symbolically important. On a practical level, the outcome is likely to affect the ability to form a government (which could either be a one-party government with or without an absolute parliamentary majority or a coalition of parties that agree to work together). Meanwhile, on a symbolic level it remains an important question if Golden Dawn will enter Parliament and, if it does, with what share of the vote.

Tsipras in the opposition: If, as predicted, Alexis Tsipras suffers a defeat on Sunday, it will be interesting to see the type of strategy he pursues as opposition leader. After cozying up to the European social democrats and with the certainty, also given his young age, that he will remain at center stage in the years to come, the prime minister of the past four-and-a-half years will most likely opt for more responsible behavior, investing politically in the reconstruction of the Greek center-left around SYRIZA. But will he act that way, and is he up to the task?

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