Greece, the cradle of democracy, experienced yesterday a special political episode marked by the overwhelming victory of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party. This compelling turn of events has spotlighted the country’s political dynamics as the blue wave of New Democracy floods the political canvas with just one exception – the Rhodope.

Greek National Elections - May 2023

Greek National Elections – May 2023

A Stride Towards Political Self-Reliance: An Almost Absolute Parliamentary Majority

The New Democracy party, in a setting of simple proportional representation, showcased an impressive political feat by gathering around 41% of the votes. This achievement has brought the party to the brink of self-reliance, merely five MPs short of securing an absolute parliamentary majority.

This remarkable triumph is unprecedented in the party’s history, which even its most confident members could not foresee. The conclusive outcome is paving the way for a second ballot to achieve self-reliance in the impending elections, likely on June 25th.

Mitsotakis’ vision underscores an expedited process to form a new government following the political tremors reverberating nationwide.

Mitsotakis with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, May 2022

Mitsotakis with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, May 2022

The Uphill Battle for SYRIZA: A Glimpse into a Complex Future

In stark contrast to New Democracy’s victory, the opposition party SYRIZA is entangled in a labyrinth of complexities. The political gridlock is more of an impasse than a passing phase. After four years of challenging the ND government, SYRIZA ended up with a humbling result of 20%, marking an approximately 11.5-point drop from the 2019 elections.

SYRIZA’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, expressed the need for urgent changes. Yet, he faces an uphill battle, with no apparent option to shift the party leadership.

Alexis Tsipras, 2008

Alexis Tsipras, 2008

PASOK’s Silent Ascent: Surpassing Poll Predictions with 11.5%

PASOK struck a chord of absolute satisfaction by garnering 11.5% of the votes, outpacing most poll predictions. Standing only eight points behind SYRIZA, PASOK-KINAL is geared up for an intense battle ahead of the second ballot.

The Constitutional Guideline: Steering Greece’s Electoral Path

Greece’s electoral process is designed with meticulous details within its Constitution, providing a robust framework that governs the nation’s political arena. Understanding this Constitutional guideline is paramount to unraveling the intricacies of the Greek political landscape.

The Power of Article 37: Navigating Post-Election Scenarios

Article 37, a key provision dictating the procedures followed after an election, is at the heart of Greece’s Constitution. It stipulates that once the President of the Republic receives the final election results, she must confirm whether the leading party has secured an absolute majority, equivalent to 151 seats, in the Parliament.

If the party falls short of this majority, the President initiates a process called ‘exploratory mandates.’ This mechanism calls upon the majority party’s leader to evaluate potential avenues for forming a government that can confidently stand in the Parliament. The provision allows for the exploratory mandate to sequentially pass on to the leaders of the second and third strongest parties if initial discussions falter.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of Greece

Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of Greece

The Clock’s Ticking: Three Days for Coalition Building

Time is the essence of Greece’s political saga. Each party leader gets a maximum of three days to survey the political landscape for potential allies in building a coalition government. A leader can forfeit their exploratory mandate at any point within this period.

The Article 84 Gateway: Confidence Vote and Coalition Government

Embodying the essence of democracy, Article 84 of the Greek Constitution underlines that securing a confidence vote from the Parliament is the cornerstone for forming a government. Two routes can lead to this end: obtaining 151 affirmative votes or acquiring the majority of the deputies present. The latter, however, can’t fall below 2/5 of the total deputies, translating to a minimum of 120 votes. This path is only navigable if the number of votes against is lower.

The Last Resort: Caretaker Government and Fresh Elections

If a consensus eludes the party leaders, the President convenes a meeting with all parliamentary party leaders to explore possibilities of forming a government. In this meeting, the President needs to agree to form a caretaker government with wide acceptance to orchestrate fresh elections. In such a scenario, the Prime Ministerial duties rest with the President of the Court of Audit, owing to his seniority among the presidents of the country’s Supreme Courts.

The Aftermath: Inauguration of the Parliament and Potential Re-elections

Irrespective of the government’s nature – whether it’s a one-party, coalition, tolerance, or caretaker government – the new Parliament convenes for its inauguration. This event heralds the selection of key parliamentary roles, including the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, the Vice-Presidents, Secretaries, and Deans of the Parliament.

If the government fails to garner a vote of confidence from the Parliament, the President issues a decree dissolving the current session and calling for fresh elections. This decree also outlines the schedule for the next Parliamentary session.

The upcoming elections abided by the principles of enhanced proportional representation. This system awards the leading party a ‘bonus’ of 40 seats. The deputies are chosen based on the list of candidates provided by the parties. The election period is 22 days to a month, during which parties and party alliances must apply to the Supreme Court.


Source: Athens-Macedonian News Agency.