SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras called on Greeks to turn Sunday’s European Parliament elections into a referendum on the country’s coalition government after the leftists made breakthrough in the City of Athens and region of Attica in the first round of voting in local elections.
“The European elections will be a referendum on the [EU-IMF] memorandum,” said Tsipras, buoyed by SYRIZA’s achievements in the capital.
“There is no historical precedent for the governing party not making it into the second round of voting in the country’s biggest region and biggest municipality,” he said.
SYRIZA was buoyed by Rena Dourou’s unexpected victory in Attica over incumbent Yiannis Sgouros. With almost all the votes counted on Monday, Dourou gained 23.8 percent of the vote and Sgouros, backed by PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), 22.1 percent.
In the City of Athens, Gavriil Sakellaridis trailed Mayor Giorgos Kaminis by a narrow margin. Kaminis gained 21 percent of the vote and SYRIZA’s young politician 20 percent.
In both cases, there will be a runoff vote next Sunday. New Democracy has said that it will support Kaminis and Sgouros, which will make the challenge for Dourou and Sakellaridis to win tougher.
SYRIZA will expect to increase Dourou’s share of the vote as it won 30.6 percent of the ballots cast in the June 2012 elections in Attica but it remains to be seen if this can increase to above 50 percent.
Overall, SYRIZA hit its target of getting five candidates into the second round of voting for regional governorships.
The opposition party, however, will be buoyed by a Kapa Research opinion poll that showed SYRIZA 4.7 percentage points ahead of New Democracy for Sunday’s European Parliament elections.