Talk of early elections as soon as early next year has resurfaced as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras begins to get a sense of the impact of the recent TV license debacle and growing dissent within his ruling SYRIZA party amid acrimonious rhetoric vis-a-vis the country’s lenders.
While the issue of snap polls had appeared to have been put to rest, at least as far as the government was concerned, the latest turn of events has put Tsipras on the back foot as he appears to be running out of options to reverse the sliding confidence in his government.
Critics have attributed his recent decision to up the ante with the country’s creditors by threatening that Europe will be rocked by instability if the key Greek demand of debt relief is deferred to 2018 to an effort aimed at justifying early polls on the grounds that the negotiations are at an impasse.
By the same token, critics say his intention to submit a new bill regarding TV broadcasting – after the Council of State shot down the previous one – is also aimed at justifying early polls as it will no doubt trigger a new round of animosity with opposition parties.
Tsipras’s seemingly failed attempt to change the country’s TV broadcasting landscape has dealt a devastating blow to the core of his government’s narrative of the past two years, namely to take on corruption and vested interests – a key element of the government’s strategy with regard to opposition New Democracy.
However, last week’s ruling by the country’s highest administrative court that his government’s flagship auction of TV licenses was unconstitutional has put it up against the wall, as its initial reaction was to attack the Greek judiciary, undermining faith in the country’s institutions.
Critics say matters could deteriorate even further if the coalition proceeds with its intention to bounce back with new initiatives that undercut the country’s Constitution.
With the coalition’s limited majority in Parliament, analysts believe it will struggle to survive 2017, given the raft of unpopular measures it must implement. And with polls suggesting the leftist-led administration is steadily losing ground among a disillusioned electorate, and that Tsipras’s star is beginning to wane, critics are becoming increasingly confident that the writing on the wall is becoming clearer.