Polarization takes toll on smaller parties

The strengthening of conservative New Democracy and leftist SYRIZA in Sunday?s election took a toll on the country?s smaller parties. The emergence of the new two-party system, as some analysts are describing it, damaged not only the newcomers but also established parliamentary powers including the Communist Party (KKE) and the nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS).

Panos Kammenos?s Independent Greeks lost three percentage points and 13 seats. The heaviest losses were recorded in the Dodecanese constituency, where the populist anti-bailout party went down from 17.8 percent in the May 6 election to 9.5 percent. The party did better in Xanthi and Evrytania, where it lost just 0.6 and 1 percent respectively. Independent Greeks scored their highest percentages in Drama and Kastoria, garnering slightly over 10 percent of the vote in both cases.

The Democratic Left party, headed by Fotis Kouvelis, saw a slight 0.15 percent increase in its power, but polarization appears to have harmed it across many constituencies. The leftist party?s most impressive performance was in Rodopi, where it secured 13.9 percent. It did well in Athens?s first and second constituencies, with 7.37 and 7.7 percent respectively. However, Democratic Left saw decisive losses in more than 30 electoral constituencies.

One of the biggest losers of the June 17 election was KKE, which saw its 8.5 percent evaporate to a mere 4.5 percent. The Communists lost considerable power even in traditional strongholds like Samos (6.4 percent) and Lesvos (6 percent), losing both seats. Similar to Independent Greeks, KKE saw its power decline in all constituencies. The Communists fared worst in Rodopi (1.9 percent and seventh place) and Lasithi (2 percent, seventh place).

The LAOS free fall continued. Giorgos Karatzaferis?s populist party failed to make it into Parliament as support sank to a humiliating 1.58 percent. LAOS?s best performance was recorded in Evia (2.27 percent) and in Thessaloniki?s first constituency (2.1 percent). Karatzaferis saw the biggest losses in Larissa (2.1 percent) and Evros (2 percent).

The liberal Drasi, Liberal Alliance and Recreate Greece parties joined forces ahead of the June 17 election, but still scored a disappointing 1.6 percent. The alliance, headed by Thanos Tzimeros?s Recreate Greece, received its biggest percentage in the first and second constituencies of Athens (2.4 and 2.3 percent respectively) and in the first Thessaloniki constituency (2.27 percent). Its lowest percentages were scored in Arta (0.7 percent), Ilia (0.8 percent) and Samos (0.8 percent).

Although they flirted with a parliamentary entry in the previous vote, the Ecologist Greens went down to 0.9 percent.

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