Monday

3rd Oct 2022

Greek socialists win snap general election

  • Mr Karamanlis' poor handling of a series of natural disasters played a strong role in his election loss (Photo: European Commission)

Greece's socialists have won a strong parliamentary majority over the governing conservatives, according to exit polls from Sunday's (4 October) general election in the country.

The centre-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement, or Pasok, of leader George Papandreou, is leading according to the polls, with 43 percent of the vote, giving the party 159 seats in the 300-seat chamber.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The centre-right New Democracy of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, which had called a snap election only two years after his 2007 election win, had hoped to give a boost to his faltering government with its one-seat majority.

His gamble did not pay off, however, with his conservatives gaining the support of just 34 percent of voters, translating into 94 seats.

"We stand here united before the great responsibility which we undertake," Mr Papandreou told thousands of his supporters at a rally in Athens after the results became clear.

"I know very well the great potential of this country. Potential that is being drowned by corruption, favouritism, lawlessness and waste. Potential that we will set free," he said.

Mr Karamanlis' party had been hit by a series of corruption scandals, the economic crisis and was widely viewed as having badly handled a series of natural disasters.

Moreover, the election offered a clear choice between Pasok and New Democracy.

The former promised a €3 billion stimulus package that would include above-inflation wage and pension increases, higher taxes for the wealthy and a review of the privatisation of flag carrier Olympic Airlines and the sale of the government's stake in OTE, the telecoms firm.

Meanwhile New Democracy campaigned on promises of wage and pension freezes for government employees and further austerity and cutting of social programmes in order to tackle the country's deficit, already twice the European Union's allowed maximum of three percent of GDP.

Mr Papandreou, whose father and grandfather had both been prime minister, was born in the United States while the country was under military rule, and has been mocked for the errors in his spoken Greek.

Despite the convincing victory, recent polls have shown that as many as nine out of 10 Greeks do not trust either party, and abstentions were also high amongst the young, who analysts worry are turning their back on parliamentary politics.

Last December, the country was rocked by violent youth riots that lasted three weeks in what was described at the time as the worst unrest to hit Greece since the restoration of democracy in 1974.

The far-left Syriza coalition saw a decline in its support from five percent in 2007, giving it 14 seats, to 4.4 percent and 12 seats on Sunday.

The Communists remain the third largest party in the assembly, but they too saw a drop since the last election, clocking in at 7.3 percent and 20 seats, down from 8.2 percent and 22 seats.

The far-right however sharply increased their support, with the Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) climbing from 3.8 percent and ten seats 5.5 percent and 15 members in the house.

The Ecological Greens, who had said ahead of the election that they were willing to work with either the socialists or the conservatives did not manage to achieve the surge in backing they had been hoping for and failed to make it into the parliament, winning 2.4 percent, just shy of Greek democracy's three-percent threshold.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Testimony from son rocks trial of ex-Czech PM Babiš

In a fraud trial relating to €2m in EU subsidies, Andrej Babiš son testified his signature on share-transfer agreements was forged. He claims his father transferred the shares to him without his knowledge, making him a front man for scheme.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  2. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  3. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  4. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  5. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat
  6. Poland insists on German WW2 reparations
  7. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  8. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  2. EU wants probe into alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes
  3. EU officials were warned of risk over issuing financial warning
  4. EU debates national energy plans amid calls for more coordination
  5. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  6. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  7. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  8. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us