Election winners must still chase votes

New Democracy campaign will focus on northern Greece, where parties to its right did well

Election winners must still chase votes

Despite its resounding victory in the May 21 election, the ruling New Democracy party does not take winning an outright majority in Parliament after the June 25 election for granted, despite a favorable electoral law that offers a significant seat bonus to the winner.

For starters, New Democracy aims, at a minimum, to hold on to the electoral result it achieved on May 21 (40.79%), if not expand on it. With two parties, Freedom Sailing and Niki, near the 3% threshold that ensures parliamentary representation, the presence of seven parties in Parliament, combined with the amount of votes dispersed among smaller parties, could raise the threshold for an outright majority of MPs to 39% and New Democracy cannot afford to lose voters.

Northern Greece appears to be the centerpiece of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ campaign. This is by design: Easily overlooked among the total domination by the ruling party across Greece, with the single exception of the regional unit of Rodopi, in the northeast, is that New Democracy underperformed in its traditional stronghold, losing votes in several constituencies, whereas it slightly gained overall, compared to the July 2019 election. Niki, a right-wing party with a strong showing among Christian Orthodox faithful, as well as anti-vaxxers and other conspiracy theory-prone voters, as well as right-wing nationalist Greek Solution, which elected 16 MPs on May 21, made inroads into conservative voters in the north.

Kathimerini understands that, next weekend, Mitsotakis will campaign in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and the nearby Halkidiki regional unit. New Democracy performed worse than 2019 in the Thessaloniki A (34.15% versus 35.52%) and Thessaloniki B (40.07% from 43.02%) constituencies, as well as in Halkidiki (39.92% from 42.59%).

In the runup to the election, Mitsotakis will also visit the regional units of Kavala, where it actually gained in vote share (43.66% from 42.55% in 2019), Drama (39.41% from 43.90%), Imathia (40.92% from 41.92%), Grevena (44.31% from 43.16%), Evros (43.31% from 44.99%), Pella (41.05% from 42.29%) and Pieria (41.09% from 47.05%). He also plans to visit Thessaloniki a second time, Rodopi, where SYRIZA came first, largely thanks to the votes of the Muslim minority, and even the monastic community of Mt Athos, where many monasteries reportedly urged the faithful across the country to vote for Niki. 

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