Friday

9th Dec 2016

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.

Analysis

Austrian far-right: beaten, but not defeated

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer's loss to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen sent relief across Europe, but his party is still in a good position to head a government in the future.

News in Brief

  1. Wilders: Today's trial verdict will not stop me
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  2. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  3. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  5. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  7. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  8. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  9. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  10. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  11. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  12. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children