ATHENS (AFP) – Greece holds its most unpredictable election in over a decade on May 21.
It is expected to be a close contest between the conservative New Democracy of outgoing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the left-wing Syriza of former premier Alexis Tsipras.
This is what is at stake in the ballot in the eastern Mediterranean country of 10.5 million, which is almost certain to be followed by a second election in around a month’s time: In power since July 2019, New Democracy has not once fallen behind Syriza in the polls and continues to lead by 2.5 to seven points according to different surveys.
The ruling party is even seeing a small rebound since February, when the country went into collective shock and massive protests were held over the deaths of 57 people in a train collision that was Greece’s worst-ever rail disaster. In the polls, New Democracy and Syriza supporters constitute nearly 50 per cent of respondents. But the determining factor is the undecided voters, who are measured at over 10 per cent.
A total of 36 parties are eligible to participate in the election. Parties need a minimum three per cent of the vote to enter the 300-seat Parliament. Four other parties already in Parliament alongside New Democracy and Syriza are a safe bet to return – the Pasok-Kinal socialists led by former Euro MP Nikos Androulakis, the KKE communists, the Greek Solution nationalists and MeRA25, headed by left-wing, anti-austerity former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
The election will take place under an electoral law passed by the Tsipras administration (2015-2019). Its objective is to ensure that as many parties as possible are represented in Parliament, with an eye in encouraging coalition governments.