Election campaign set to shift gears

Private opinion surveys show both major parties losing ground compared to 2019 poll

Election campaign set to shift gears

With the campaign for the May 21 elections expected to shift into high gear after Easter Sunday, the contestants are looking to fine tune their message to emphasize their strengths.

The election will almost certainly result in no overall single party majority in Parliament and a coalition government looks unlikely at this point. A second election is expected, most likely on July 2, with an electoral system that may help the winner achieve a majority, although this is far from certain. 

Kathimerini understands that polls conducted by the ruling New Democracy and not published show that, in most regions, both major parties, New Democracy and the main opposition SYRIZA, are slipping compared to their 2019 results, and that third-place, socialist PASOK posts modest gains. In northern Greece, New Democracy’s slippage is more pronounced, with far-right parties gaining. The Peloponnese, a conservative stronghold, seems to be holding rather well, on the other hand.

Government officials believe that ND has a clear advantage on issues of security, including migration, and the economy, despite persistent inflation. But they concede that recent events – such as the rail disaster at Tempe and a wiretapping scandal – are working to SYRIZA’s advantage. They also claim that the government’s record on health – which faced the Covid-19 pandemic – education and employment has not been sufficiently communicated to voters.

Also, the attempt to ban the National Party-Greeks founded by a jailed former Golden Dawn MP could rebound against ruling New Democracy by boosting parties to its right, the officials conceded, adding that the issue was not handled as efficiently as it should have been.

In the end, the result will hinge on which issues will be uppermost in voters’ minds on election day. Despite the opinion polls showing ND in the lead, SYRIZA officials express confidence that they can pull out a victory, which will help them in their stated quest for a “progressive coalition.”

There are differing opinions within the governing party on the tone of the campaign, with some suggesting an aggressive tone, while others caution that, while SYRIZA, as the opposition, is guaranteed to wage a “toxic” campaign, the floating centrist voters which ND must convince to give it a second chance detest overly confrontational tactics.

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