Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is determined to make a strong push to achieve a good deal with the country’s creditors and keep the economy on track, but, sources indicate, he may lead Greece to another round of snap polls if his leftist SYRIZA falls further behind conservative New Democracy in the coming weeks.
If SYRIZA’s drop behind ND remains at levels considered to be manageable – a difference of no more than 20 percentage points – Tsipras is expected to try and win time, aiming to bolster the economy and boost SYRIZA, which is to hold a party congress in October.
If, however, SYRIZA’s popularity starts to plummet, as happened to PASOK in early 2012, then the premier is expected to call snap polls to ensure that SYRIZA remains a key political player, albeit possibly in the opposition again. The latest opinion polls put the two main political parties between 8 and 10 percentage points apart.
If Tsipras does call early elections, the aim would not be to win them, observers say, but for ND to win without being able to form an independent government.
This would likely lead to another round of snap polls after which the new electoral law – of simple proportional representation and no 50-seat bonus for the winning party – would apply, potentially giving SYRIZA a greater say in the formation of a new government.
One key concern of the government is that the fall will not only bring another round of tough negotiations with Greece’s creditors but also property tax bills will be sent out, which is likely to deal a further blow to Tsipras’s popularity.
Moreover, if the shortfall in revenue recorded over the past two months continues into the fall, authorities might be obliged to impose even more austerity measures rather than introducing social welfare benefits to counter the tough measures that have been imposed over the past year, as intended.