Greece’s main opposition hopes to secure win in parliamentary polls

Greece is heading to the polls on Sunday to determine who will govern the country for the next four years, with the opposition hopeful for a win despite polls suggesting the ruling New Democracy (ND) party could emerge victorious.

In recent weeks, surveys have pointed to a rebound in the popularity of the ND, which saw a downward trend in the aftermath of a deadly February 28 train accident that killed at least 57 people near the northern town of Tempi.

The party's leader and the incumbent Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked Greeks to give him a strong mandate to form a single-party government, promising greater prosperity, stability, and safety.

He said a new Greece was already rising thanks to his government's policies, which he touts as bold and realistic.

The main opposition SYRIZA, on the other hand, has built its election campaign on two major pillars, pointing to corruption and wiretapping scandals, the latter of which has become known as Greek Watergate, accusing the government of severely damaging rule of law and democracy under its tenure and vowing to restore democracy and institutional integrity in Greece.

Declining purchasing power of working- and middle-class Greeks was also in the sights of the party, which argues the economic policies of the ND aggravated income inequality.

Criticising opinion polls that show the ND ahead, SYRIZA has said its support is greater than surveys indicate.


While it has suggested that all left-wing parties in parliament band together to form a progressive coalition government, vast ideological divides between them mean the likelihood of such an administration is slim.

The social democratic PASOK-KINAL, led by Nikos Androulakis, is forecast to be the third-largest party in the new parliament, distinguishing itself from the ND and SYRIZA with its pro-Western foreign policy and market-oriented economics.

Many surveys and media reports indicate that the party may play the role of kingmaker in the formation of a coalition government, led by either the ND or SYRIZA.

But, some members of its members consider SYRIZA too far-left, while others oppose cooperation with the ND over the surveillance scandal. This can result in PASOK refusing to join either in a potential coalition.

The Greek Communist Party (KKE), the oldest political party in the country, has distanced itself from the other parties.

Led by Dimitris Koutsoumpas, It has dismissed the possibility of taking part in any coalition government and appears poised to become the fourth-largest party in parliament, owing to its traditional appeal in some major trade unions and young people, as well as its loyal voter base.

MeRA25 of former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who is known for his strong anti-establishment and Eurosceptic rhetoric, is also likely to pass the electoral threshold of 3 percent and be present in the new parliament.

But, its particularly harsh stance against neo-liberal economic policies makes it a less-than-ideal coalition partner for SYRIZA which already turned into a party of the centre.

Likewise, the Greek Solution, a far-right, populist party led by Kyriakos Velopoulos, is expected to retain its presence in the parliament but is unlikely to play a role in any coalition due to its pro-Russian and extreme nationalistic and religious rhetoric.

Under that conditions, a second election by early June appears a strong possibility.