Tuesday

28th Mar 2017

Greek far-left in election lead

  • Syriza posters: Greek voters have rounded against austerity-imposed reforms (Photo: Asne Hagen)

The radical-left Syriza party is ahead in the first round of voting in Greek local elections on Sunday (18 May), while exit polls suggest a boost for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in some areas.

Syriza is set to take Athens and the surrounding Attica region away from the ruling coalition of the conservative New Democracy and its socialist partner, Pasok.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' conservative-led coalition came to power two years ago to steer Greece out of its debt-ridden crisis.

But austerity measures imposed by the troika of international creditors on Greece, and then implemented by Samaras, led to rocketing unemployment and a 40 percent drop in purchasing power since the start of the crisis four years ago.

Jobless rates published earlier last month show more Greeks are out of work compared to last year.

Around 3 million eligible voters out of a total population of 10 million reside in Athens and Attica region.

Syriza’s gains in the first round are seen as a major blow to ruling coalition party.

Together, the New Democracy and Pasok maintain a slim two-seat majority in the parliament.

The Wall Street Journal reports it will be the first time in almost 40 years that a New Democracy candidate will not be in the second round in Athens.

“It is a punishment vote and reflects the internal divisions within the ruling parties,” Constantinos Routzounis, head of Kapa Research, told Reuters.

"The following Sunday, we will see whether this vote has a deeper political significance," he said.

Golden Dawn

In a further blow to Prime Minister Samaras, the Guardian newspaper reports neo-Nazi Golden Dawn candidate for Athens' mayor could come in third with 15.5 percent of the votes.

Their candidate for prefect in Attica obtained around 10 percent of the votes.

Despite being under investigation for its criminal activities, Golden Dawn attracts voters because it is seen as reaching out to those most affected by the crisis.

“Everyone I know is voting for Golden Dawn because they are starving and jobless,” a Greek voter told the Guardian.

All 18 of its MPs are being charged with leading and operating a criminal organisation. Six are imprisoned and awaiting trials for their alleged roles in murder, extortion, and arson.

Voters will return to the ballots for a second round next weekend where they will also decide who to send to the European Parliament.

Focus

Greece's Golden Dawn seeks allies in EP

Golden Dawn, set to debut in the EP after Sunday's vote, has few allies among well-established far-right parties, but plenty of links with radical fringe groups across Europe.

Opinion

European democracy beyond the elections

Eurosceptics may have appropriated the democracy discourse, but their view that national isolation is the way to recover accountability is deeply flawed.

Poland snubbed twice in EU summit fiasco

[Updated] Poland tried and failed to block EU summit conclusions shortly after failing to block Tusk’s re-election as Council chief, prompting bitter accusations.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  2. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  3. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  4. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  6. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  7. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  8. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  10. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  11. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  12. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People