european-elections-in-greece:-far-right-makes-big-gains-amid-record-abstention
GREEK NEWS

European Elections in Greece: Far Right Makes Big Gains Amid Record Abstention

European elections Greece
The government and the main opposition came out weakened from Sunday’s European elections. Credit: AMNA

Results for the European elections in Greece on Sunday show that the governing New Democracy party won, but by losing at least 6 percent compared with the European elections of 2019 and more than 10 percent compared with the national elections of 2023.

Main opposition SYRIZA in second place, which won 14.9 percent and four seats, also lost ground. It failed to match the 17 percent it garnered in last year’s national polls.

Socialist PASOK won 12.8 percent and three seats and remains in third place despite its often-stated aspirations to become the country’s main opposition party.

The main winners of the elections were right-wing parties who won 20 percent of the vote. In total, the parties to the right of New Democracy make them collectively the second biggest party.

Nationalist Greek Solution was fourth with 9.3 percent (two seats) ahead of communist KKE with 9.3 percent and two seats. Far-right Niki won 4.4 percent and one seat, ahead of Course for Freedom on 3.4 percent, also with one seat. Another party to the right of ND, Voice of Reason, was hovering at the 3 percent threshold and it was not clear if it had won a seat.

The results also show that there was a huge abstention from the elections. What is beyond dispute is the very low turnout at 40 percent, nearly 20 percentage points below that of the last European election, in May 2019 (58.69 percent).

The final result of the European Elections in Greece

Greece European elections
Final results

The leaders of the two main political parties in Greece which came out weakened from Sunday’s European elections tried to put a brave face to the results.

Casting his vote earlier on Sunday Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “Elections are a celebration of Democracy and the more participation we have, the stronger we are for Democracy.

“The European elections have their own special significance, in the next five years very important decisions will be made in Europe. It is very important to have a strong Greek voice, strong representation in the European Parliament, so that as Greece we can claim as much as we can from Europe”.

Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Stefanos Kasselakis sent a message of participation in the polls after casting his vote at the primary school of Ekali urging the people to take their lives into their own hands.

“Today is a celebration of Democracy, we choose who and what Europe we want to have” said the president of SYRIZA-PS. “So I urge all our fellow citizens to take 30 minutes or less out of their day to come and take their lives into their own hands”.

On a personal level, Kasselakis said that he is “moved and grateful for the great trust and love that people have shown me in the last months and especially in the last weeks”.

PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis noted that “our country needs more than ever, to have on Sunday evening a stronger, serious, and reliable opposition that will be the next possible government option against a government of impunity and arrogance that ignores the great problems of the Greek people”.

He was referring to the high prices, the housing crisis and the problem is the health sector.

The expectations of the parties in Greece for the European elections

31 political parties and coalitions with 1,168 candidates participated in Greece. To elect an MEP, they must get a minimum of 3 percent of the vote.

In the 2024 European Parliament elections in Greece, postal voting was implemented for the first time. A total of 202,515 Greek voters from both within the country and abroad registered on the relevant platform.

The ruling conservative New Democracy had set the bar at matching the result of the previous European election (33.12 percent). Anything above would be an occasion for triumphalism. Anything below, especially if New Democracy drops under 30 percent, may start putting the party’s recent domination of the political landscape into question.

Main opposition SYRIZA and the socialist PASOK will battle for second place, with SYRIZA having gained the upper hand in recent opinion polls after a temporary dip in the second half of 2023.

For SYRIZA’s leader Stefanos Kasselakis, second place could be enough. However, he has at times said that he would like to match the party’s last domestic result (17.83 percent) and has not ruled out a result in the twenties, percentage-wise.

Polls in 20 EU countries

Polls were held on Sunday in 20 European Union countries, from Sweden and Lithuania in the north to Portugal and Cyprus in the south, as voters choose their representatives for the next five-year term of the European Parliament, amid concern that a likely shift to the political right will undermine the ability of the world’s biggest trading bloc to take decisions as war rages in Ukraine and anti-migrant sentiment mounts.

Citizens will cast ballots to elect 720 members of the European Parliament. Seats in the assembly are allocated based on population, ranging from six in Malta or Luxembourg to 96 in Germany.

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