Syriza Calls Snap Election After Poor European Parliament Result
The Syriza government was swept to power as Greece was struggling with immense debts following the Global Financial Crisis and the European Sovereign Debt Crisis (which it was largely responsible for triggering). Long-standing Greek Parties had struggled with the measures required by the EU and IMF as conditions for a series of bailout loans. This set the scene for Syriza (a radical alliance of parties of the left) to sweep to power, promising to reject austerity and get the creditors to rip up much of Greek debt – of course it didn’t quite work like that and disillusion has steadily grown amongst Greek voters.
The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, had promised to treat the recent elections to the European Parliament as a vote of confidence in his government. In the event, Syriza trailed New Democracy by 9% in the EU Parliamentary elections and Tsipras has announced a snap general election, bringing forward the vote which was scheduled for October.
New Democracy took 8 seats; Syriza held 6; the movement for change, Greek communist party, (Far right) Golden Dawn all took two seats and Greek Solution won one seat. The ruling party also suffered losses in local elections in Greeece.
Whilst the expectation is that Syriza will be swept from power in the upcoming general election, Tsipras is trying to frame the contest in terms of pursuing his plans or returning to economic crisis. Declaring himself “ready for battle”, he argued that a vote for New Democracy would take Greece back to: “the darkness of austerity, the darkness of crisis, the oligarchs, the International Monetary Fund”.
Syriza came to power in January 2015 and came perilously close to causing the nation to being forced to suspend its use of the Euro as it argued with its creditors in the IMF and Eurozone for both debt forgiveness and restructuring whilst balking at the terms imposed by the creditors on their loans. The caveats attached to the loans were intended to place Greece’s economy on a sustainable footing, but included severe austerity requirements and the sale of some state-run enterprise.
The new election for the Greek parliament will take place on 7th July.