The upcoming election in Greece is expected to be a closely contested race between the conservative New Democracy party, led by outgoing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the left-wing Syriza party, led by former premier Alexis Tsipras. The polls show New Democracy has maintained a slight lead over Syriza, with undecided voters potentially determining the outcome. The election will be held under an electoral law passed by Tsipras to encourage coalition governments. However, coalitions have historically been difficult to form in Greece’s polarized political climate, making a second vote likely.
Mitsotakis has expressed his preference for a second ballot under a different electoral law passed by his government, which gives a bonus of up to 30 seats to the victor. He hopes to avoid forming a government with other parties and establish a “stable and strong right-wing government.” Tsipras, on the other hand, wants to “put an end to” political families dominating political life and cultivate an end to “favouritism” and “corruption.”
Greece has experienced significant economic growth in recent years, particularly in tourism, merchant shipping, and construction, after a decade of economic crisis between 2010 and 2018. The outgoing government forecasts 2.3 per cent growth in 2023, but the country’s debt, at 171.3 per cent of GDP in 2022, remains a concern. Unemployment, particularly among the youth, is still high at 12.4 per cent. Inflation, driven by the energy crisis, is a key concern for voters, as it stood at 9.6 per cent in 2002.
Migrant policy and domestic policies are also important issues in the election. Greece has taken a hard-line approach in sealing its borders to migrants seeking to enter the European Union through Turkey, with the help of EU border agency Frontex.
The government has also been accused of illegal migrant pushbacks, which it denies. Police repression during the pandemic and a wiretapping scandal in which politicians and journalists were under surveillance have also raised concerns about the rule of law and press freedom.
Source: Greek City Times