The fact that the regional map of Greece was painted blue, the colour of the conservative party, comes to seal the double result of the European elections and the first round of the local elections. The expression of dissatisfaction with SYRIZA and the strengthening of New Democracy as a whole was also confirmed on Sunday.
Although the abstinence rose, in some cases even reaching 60%, the dominance of ND is unquestionable, almost four years after its overwhelming defeat by SYRIZA in 2015. One might argue that the government’s choice to place the European elections- predominantly a form of protest for Greece- at the same time as the first round of the local elections, has backfired on SYRIZA since the protest of the citizens, beyond the European elections, has spread to regional government.
Especially in the Attica region, where half the population of the country resides and has de facto more central-political features. At the same time, the lack of strong incentive for the second Sunday led the majority of the citizens to… the beaches.
Now for SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras, the early national elections on July 7 are a crucial strategic bet. “We are joining our forces to fight the battle of battles, which is the national elections,” was the message of the Greek Prime Minister last night, stressing next to the candidates of the region of Attica and the municipality of Athens that in politics, just as in life it is important to know how to win and know how to lose. But mainly to know how to get up.
Although the ruling party considers that the difference of 9.5 points is reversible, the realistic goal is its significant decline and, of course, the prevention of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ party parliamentary majority. As they are well aware, what has cost them the most is the lack of support measures for the middle class and the fracture of the social alliance built in 2012 and 2015.
For this reason, the economic staff is working day-and-night in order to draw up a clear and targeted program with tax breaks, jobs, strengthening of innovation and entrepreneurship. The assessment they make in the government is that the vote for New Democracy was not primarily a positive vote for its political program but a protest against SYRIZA. The second big target group are the disappointed voters who either abstained or voted for smaller parties.
Thus, in the pre-election debate, the party of Alexis Tsipras will seek to confer a programmatic and political character so that on the one hand the SYRIZA program is clearly explained to citizens and on the other hand the real positions of New Democracy are exposed. Positions that have not been openly expressed, as stressed by government officials, but are in fact a return to neo-liberal policies of austerity and the privatization of the welfare state.
At the same time, SYRIZA is betting on its consolidation as the great progressive and democratic pole against the conservative, right – with elements of nationalism – pole expressed by New Democracy. This serves the call to the voters and executives of KINAL who, following the departure of their former president in the co-predisency with ND, Evangelos Venizelos, faces the risk of further loses.
In any case, it is now open whether Greece will join the conservative camp after four years of progressive government, which will also affect European associations. And of course, it will be judged whether the venture of a left-wing government was a circumstantial situation or if it has potential./ibna