Sunday December 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Some thoughts after the first round of elections

A man reads newspaper headlines about the results of the first round of the local elections in central Athens, on Monday.

By Nikos Konstandaras

SYRIZA, the main leftist opposition party, may be dynamic but it lacks the power to overturn the political scene. The government appears resilient – if we can judge from the performance of candidates in the municipal and regional elections who are backed by New Democracy and PASOK – but it also received a loud message from voters. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn has taken root in Greek politics and society. Polarization played a key role in determining the result of the first round of voting and will increase during this week, before Sunday’s runoff and the election for the European Parliament.

Like two boxers in the ring after months of verbal jousting, the government and the main opposition party circled each other, threw a few punches, created some impressions, overturned some predictions but did not come to any specific outcome. There was no surprise nor any improvement in the level of our politics. SYRIZA – which has seemed unable to improve further on support stemming from popular anger at government policies, again seemed to fall short of knocking down its rival.

The initial impression from Sunday’s ballot (thanks to exit polls that turned out to be wrong) was that SYRIZA had dealt a serious blow to the government. As the night wore on, it emerged that the leftist candidate for regional governor of Attica, Rena Dourou, was not way ahead of her rival but that her lead was between 1 and 2 percent. Whereas the exit polls had put SYRIZA’s candidate for mayor of Athens in first place, it was the incumbent, Giorgos Kaminis, who won by a slim margin. Outside Attica there were no results to suggest the opposition party was gaining in a way that would make life difficult for the government. The development that must be examined seriously by society and our political system is the strong showing by Golden Dawn in both the Attica region and Athens (where its candidates polled 11.1 percent and 16.1 percent respectively). Clearly, the judicial investigation into charges of criminal activity by the party did not dissuade voters who wanted to express their anger, insecurity and bigotry through this extremist group.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s decision to propose ND party members for the mayorships of Athens and Thessaloniki, and for regional governors in Attica and the Thessaloniki area, deprived New Democracy of an opportunity to show that it would support incumbents who had proven their worth and did not operate solely on the basis of party interests. ND candidates came up short in these polls. One of the most encouraging signs of Sunday’s election was the resilience shown by Kaminis in Athens and his Thessaloniki counterpart, Yiannis Boutaris: Both are through to the second round after having improved their cities and softened the hardships caused by the economic and social crisis.

The polarization of the past few weeks has shown that our politicians cannot make a break from practices that have an immediate impact as well as widening rifts in society. This polarization obstructs communication between us and also makes it more difficult to negotiate with our partners and creditors. An increase in tension ahead of the European Parliament vote, which SYRIZA has declared a referendum on government policy, may also turn out to be deadly for smaller parties contesting the poll, as many of their voters may choose to back one of the two big rivals. Last Sunday’s vote decided very little, leaving all options open for next weekend.

ekathimerini.com , Monday May 19, 2014 (19:27)  
The big picture
Get your facts straight
New weapons of diplomacy
Oblivious to change
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
The government over the weekend appeared to backpedal on proposed amendments widely seen as compromising legislation protecting Greek forests as well as Plaka, Athens’s old quarter. The bill...
Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis and Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos have signed a decision paving the way for the country’s first hydroplan...
Inside News
Workers rush to get early retirement
Nine out of 10 workers who retired in the last four months who had belonged to the former special funds of banks and state corporations that have now been incorporated in the Social Security...
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year. The J...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
2. Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Police gets new communications system
5. Most Greeks say they recycle daily
6. Probe into revenues of 2 mln euros in Halkidiki municipality
more news
Today
This Week
1. Get your facts straight
2. The big picture
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
5. Changes on E9 property declarations possible until end-year
6. Police gets new communications system
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy closing, says poll
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.