May 2012 Greek legislative election

← 2009 6 May 2012 June 2012 →

All 300 seats of the Hellenic Parliament
151 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Registered9,945,859 Increase0.2%
Turnout6,476,818 (65.1%)
Decrease5.8 pp
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Antonis Samaras Alexis Tsipras Evangelos Venizelos
Party ND Coalition of the Radical Left PASOK
Leader since 30 November 2009 9 February 2008 18 March 2012
Leader's seat Messenia Athens A Thessaloniki A
Last election 91 seats, 33.5% 13 seats, 4.60% 160 seats, 43.9%
Seats won 108 52 41
Seat change Increase17 Increase39 Decrease119
Popular vote 1,192,103 1,061,928 833,452
Percentage 18.85% 16.78% 13.18%
Swing Decrease14.62 pp Increase12.18 pp Decrease30.74 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
 
Leader Panos Kammenos Aleka Papariga Nikolaos Michaloliakos
Party ANEL KKE ΧΑ
Leader since 24 February 2012 27 February 1991 1 November 1993
Leader's seat Athens B Athens B Athens A
Last election Did not stand 21 seats, 7.5% 0 seats, 0.29%
Seats won 33 26 21
Seat change Increase33 Increase5 Increase21
Popular vote 671,324 536,105 440,966
Percentage 10.61% 8.47% 6.97%
Swing New party Increase0.93 pp Increase6.68 pp

  Seventh party
 
Leader Fotis Kouvelis
Party DIMAR
Leader since 27 June 2010
Leader's seat Athens B
Last election Did not contest
Seats won 19
Seat change Increase19
Popular vote 386,394
Percentage 6.11%
Swing New party

Map of electoral districts, showing the largest party by share of votes. Darker shades indicate stronger vote share.

Prime Minister before election

Lucas Papademos
Independent

Interim Prime Minister after election

Panagiotis Pikrammenos
Independent

The May 2012 Greek legislative election was held in Greece on Sunday, 6 May, to elect all 300 members to the Hellenic Parliament. It was regular scheduled to be held in late 2013, four years after the previous election; however, an early election was stipulated in the coalition agreement of November 2011 which formed the Papademos Cabinet. The coalition comprised both of Greece's traditional major political parties, PASOK on the left and New Democracy (ND) on the right, as well as the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS). The aim of the coalition was to relieve the Greek government-debt crisis by ratifying and implementing decisions taken with other Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a month earlier.[1]

The election delivered massive losses for the parties of the outgoing government, resulting in a realignment of Greek politics. PASOK, who won the 2009 election in a relative landslide, won just 13% of the overall vote, a decline of almost three-quarters. ND emerged in first place with just 19% of votes, approximately half of its previous result. LAOS lost all of its seats. Syriza, previously a minor party on the left-wing, ran on an anti-austerity platform and outpolled PASOK with 17% of the vote. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) improved its performance to 8.5%. Three new parties entered Parliament in the election – the right-wing populist Independent Greeks (ANEL) won 11%, the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (XA) 7%, and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) 6%.[2]

New Democracy won a substantial plurality of 108 seats thanks to Greece's majority bonus, but ND and PASOK were the only pro-bailout parties present and now lacked a majority between them. Conversely, the anti-bailout parties were deeply divided between left and right. ND leader Antonis Samaras,[3] Syriza's Alexis Tsipras,[4] and PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos all tried and failed to put together governments in the days following the election.[5] On 16 May, President Karolos Papoulias appointed Panagiotis Pikrammenos as caretaker Prime Minister and scheduled a new general election for 17 June.[6]

Background

Further information: Greek economy referendum, 2012 and Greek government-debt crisis

The European sovereign debt crisis and the Greek financial crisis, in particular, have led to an escalated political crisis. There was an announcement by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that a referendum would take place to determine whether Greece would accept the next bailout deal with the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB).[7][8][9] However such a referendum never took place. The parties of the opposition and politicians from within the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement have demanded an early election ever since.[10][11][12][13][14]

At the same time, protests and strikes in Greece have been commonplace, with some turning violent. Social unrest in the country is the result of a series of austerity packages passed by the Greek parliament since 2010.

On 4 November 2011, there was a vote of confidence in Parliament, narrowly won by the government of George Papandreou by a vote of 153 to 145 in the 300-seat body.[15] Although a number of Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) MPs said they would not support the government in the vote of confidence, all 152 eventually did support the government after PASOK's leader Papandreou agreed to step down as Prime Minister in order for a government of national unity to take over.[16][17] Following the vote of confidence one previously expelled PASOK member was re-admitted to the party, raising the Papandreou majority to 153 seats. Despite the narrow victory, Papandreou eventually resigned a few days later, making way for a three-party "grand coalition" caretaker government under Lucas Papademos, a former ECB vice president, with the support of PASOK, ND and LAOS. However, LAOS later resigned over further austerity measures.[18]

Procedure

Voting is mandatory;[19] however none of the legally existing penalties or sanctions have ever been enforced.[20][21] 250 seats will be distributed on the basis of proportional representation, with a threshold of 3% required for entry into parliament. The other 50 seats will be awarded to the party or coalition[citation needed] that wins a plurality of votes, according to the election law. Parliamentary majority is achieved by a party or coalition of parties that command at least one half plus one (151 out of 300) of total seats. Blank and invalid votes, as well as votes cast for parties that fall short of the 3% threshold, are disregarded for seat allocation purposes.[citation needed]

Date

In a speech to parliament on 4 November, Evangelos Venizelos said that the caretaker government would last until February.[22] In late December 2011, it was decided that the election would be pushed back to late April,[23] in order to allow the technocrat government to pass austerity measures.

Incumbent parliament

Five parties were elected at the 2009 election, but during the course of the parliament changes in party memberships (mostly due to the February 2012 expulsions from the main two parties of representatives who would not vote for the loan agreement[citation needed]), resulted in representation for a further two official parties (parties with more than 10 MPs) and two parliamentary caucuses (i.e. smaller parties). An additional 18 members sat as independents. Leaders of official parties enjoy certain privileges that permit them equal footing to one another and to the prime minister, both in parliamentary procedure and in pre-election debating; such privileges are not extended to caucuses and independents.[original research?]

Distribution of seats in parliament 2009 election April 2012
Official parties
  Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) 160 129
  New Democracy (ND) 91 72
  Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 21 21
  Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 15 16
  Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) 13 11
  Independent Greeks (ANEL) 0 11
  Democratic Left (DIMAR) 0 10
Parliamentary caucuses and independents
  Social Agreement (KOISY) 0 8
  Democratic Alliance (DISY) 0 4
  Independents 0 18

Participating parties

A total of 31 parties participated in the election:[24]

  1. Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Evangelos Venizelos
  2. New Democracy (ND), Antonis Samaras
  3. Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Aleka Papariga
  4. Coalition of the Radical Left – Unitary Social Movement (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras
  5. Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Georgios Karatzaferis
  6. Democratic Alliance (DISY), Dora Bakoyannis
  7. Social Agreement (KOISY), Louka Katseli
  8. Independent Greeks (ANEL), Panos Kammenos
  9. Democratic Left (DIMAR), Fotis Kouvelis
  10. Action – Liberal Alliance (DRASI-FS), Stefanos Manos and Grigoris Vallianatos
  11. Ecologists Greens (OP), six-member committee
  12. Union of Centrists (EK), Vassilis Leventis
  13. Liberal party (LIBERTAS), Manolis Kaligiannis
  14. Golden Dawn (XA), Nikolaos Michaloliakos
  15. No: The coalition of Democratic Revival and United Popular Front (EPAM), Stelios Papathemelis and 3-member committee
  16. I Don't Pay Movement, Vasilis Papadopoulos
  17. Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) / Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Greece (KKE(M–L) / ML KKE), four-member committee
  18. Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left (ANTARSYA), 21-member committee
  19. Organisation of Communist Internationalists of Greece (OKDE), 3-member committee
  20. Workers Revolutionary Party (EEK), Savas Matsas
  21. Organisation for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece (OAKKE), 3-member committee
  22. National Unity Association (SEE), Nikos Alikakos
  23. Society – Political Party of the Successors of Kapodistrias, Michail Iliadis
  24. Pirate Party of Greece (KPE), Ioannis Panagopoulos
  25. Recreate Greece (DX), Thanos Tzimeros [el]
  26. Panathinaikos Movement (PANKI), Yiorgos Betsikas
  27. Dignity, alliance of independent candidates, Panayiotis Theodoropoulos
  28. Greek Ecologists, Dimosthenis Vergis (sole candidate)
  29. National Resistance Movement (KEAN), Ippokratis Savvouras [el] (sole candidate)
  30. Renewing Independent Left, Renewing Right, Renewing Pasok, Renewing New Democracy, No to War, Party of Action, I Give Away Land, I Pardon Debts, I Save Lives, Panagrarian Labour Movement of Greece (PAEKE), Miltiadis Tzalazidis (sole perennial candidate)[18]
  31. Regional Urban Development (PAA), Nikos Kolitsis (sole candidate)

Four other parties were banned by the Supreme Court of Greece: National Hope, PAME in GESEEP, the Friends of Man and Citizens Assembly–(Direct) Democracy in Practice. National Hope was prohibited under the electoral law from participating as it is a monarchist party.[24] The court also banned the one-man party Tyrannicides from contesting the election under that name, on the grounds that the title "demonstrated criminal intent."[18] The party's Athanasios Daskalopoulos was however allowed to run in the election as independent candidate, on equal terms with the 51 other approved independent candidates.[24]

On 18 March, PASOK held a leadership election in which Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was the sole candidate.[25]

In order to provide voters with a quick unbiased tool, to check into what degree the voters personal answer in a political survey compared with the answers by the political parties, a joint academic non-profit group of researchers from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and four other International universities,[26] developed this free to use internet application Choose4Greece.

Campaign

Among the 12 biggest political parties in the opinion polls, the parties that would continue the austerity programme were PASOK, New Democracy, DISY (Democratic Alliance) and DRASI (Liberal Alliance).[27]

There was also criticism of the German-led austerity programmes.[28] Golden Dawn's campaign also called for the placement of land mines on the border with Turkey, the revocation of eurozone loan agreements, nationalisation of banks that received state loans and the nationalisation of natural resources. It was also said to have gained support by organising patrols in high-crime neighbourhoods (a similar tactic to Jobbik, who gained entry into the Hungarian parliament for the first time[29][30]). In turn PASOK and New Democracy also ratcheted up rhetoric against illegal immigration, while New Democracy feared further loss of votes to opponents of the austerity measures. LAOS, in turn, called for immigrants to be sent to uninhabited islands.[31]

KKE leader Aleka Papariga said that Greece should leave both the eurozone and the EU.[32] ND's Antonis Samaras doubted the ability to create a "grand coalition" with PASOK.[33] The Ecogreens' Yiannis Paraskevopoulos said the prime issue for them was the economy and the direction of the country.[34] Independent Greeks' Panos Kammenos said that Germany was too dominant and criticised the austerity measures he said were dictated to Greece.[35] SYRIZA's Alexis Tsipras said that he was open to working with Independent Greeks or anyone who supported a left-wing government.[36] LAOS's Georgios Karatzaferis, who left the interim government midway through its "mandate," criticised ND and PASOK for their "betrayal," saying that "they depend their political survival on foreign power centres by accepting English law for [Greece's] bonds. This land is governed by Reichenbach [de]," while he justified his initial decision to join the interim government by saying: "I am not the first choice of the Americans and the troika. It's only natural for me to be put under pressure." He also criticised a new initiative against illegal immigration as lax, in what was read as a move to gain back credibility from Golden Dawn.[37]

Controversy

At a campaign rally in the Athenian suburb of Maroussi on 21 April, PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos said that "parliament cannot become a reception space for the followers of Nazism and fascism." In response, some Golden Dawn supporters were reported to have thrown bottles and other objects at him.[31]

Other events

Ahead of the election, the financial markets started to price in the risk that the election could result in a new government led by parties seeking to reverse the austerity measures.[38][39][40][41] Due to the risk factor, the yield for the new 10-year Greek government bond rose from 18.1% on 15 March to 22.3% on 10 April, at a time when opinion polls predicted the election would result in a new anti-austerity government. On 27 April, the yields slightly recovered to 20.6%, when opinion polls started to show that the election could result in an austerity friendly government.[42] Less than a week before the election Standard & Poor's increased the Greek sovereign debt rating by a notch above default.[43]

The Bank of Greece made an unusual political statement on 24 April when it claimed that the economic recovery depends upon a "strict adherence to the economic reforms and fiscal adjustment commitments Greece has agreed with its eurozone partners." It claimed that choosing a different path would only lead to a worsening of the recession. The central bank called on citizens and the political system to undertake "the historic responsibility of choice" and asked for "the greatest possible consensus" in society and in the political sphere when deciding if Greece should stay in the eurozone by applying the agreement with Greece’s creditors or to drop out. It warned that Greece’s eurozone membership was at stake if Greece failed to follow through on its pledges after the election.[40][44]

Opinion polling

Main article: Opinion polling for the 2012 Greek legislative elections

Local regression trend line of poll results from 4 October 2009 to 6 May 2012, with each line corresponding to a political party.
Local regression trend line of poll results from 4 October 2009 to 6 May 2012, with each line corresponding to a political party.

Surveys carried out since 2009 showed a sharp decline in support for the two major parties, PASOK and New Democracy, with PASOK, the sole ruling party until 2011, seeing the largest losses in support. Polling numbers for LAOS, having risen until late 2011, declined in the run up to the next election, while support for previously minor left-wing parties as well as the new, right-wing ANEL party seemed to surge. The poll by VPRC in January 2012 featured PASOK in fifth place, the first time in over thirty years that the party was not amongst the top two;[45] however by April 2012 it had returned to second place in the polls. Golden Dawn, a extreme right party, was set to enter parliament for the first time, capturing traditional LAOS voters after their support fell when they joined the interim governing coalition.[46]

According to Greek law, opinion polls may not be published in the last two weeks preceding an election.[47]

Results

Results, showing the seats won by each party in each electoral district.
Results, showing the seats won by each party in each electoral district.

Main article: List of members of the Hellenic Parliament, May–June 2012

Summary of the 6 May 2012 Hellenic Parliament election results
Party Vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Won +/−
New Democracy (ND) 1,192,103 18.85 Decrease14.62 108 Increase17
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) 1,061,928 16.79 Increase12.19 52 Increase39
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) 833,452 13.18 Decrease30.74 41 Decrease119
Independent Greeks (ANEL) 671,324 10.62 New 33 Increase33
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 536,105 8.48 Increase0.94 26 Increase5
Popular Association-Golden Dawn (ΧΑ) 440,966 6.97 Increase6.68 21 Increase21
Democratic Left (DIMAR) 386,394 6.11 New 19 Increase19
Ecologist Greens (OP) 185,485 2.93 Increase0.40 0 ±0
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 182,925 2.89 Decrease2.74 0 Decrease15
Democratic Alliance (DISY) 161,550 2.55 New 0 ±0
Recreate Greece (DIXA) 135,960 2.15 New 0 ±0
Action-Liberal Alliance (DRASI-FS) 114,066 1.80 New 0 ±0
Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left (ANTARSYA) 75,416 1.19 Increase0.83 0 ±0
Social Agreement (KOISY) 60,552 0.96 New 0 ±0
No (Democratic Revival-United Popular Front (OCHI (DA-EPAM)) 58,170 0.92 Increase0.47 0 ±0
I Don't Pay Movement (KP) 55,590 0.88 New 0 ±0
Union of Centrists (EK) 38,313 0.61 Increase0.34 0 ±0
National Unity Association (SEE) 38,286 0.61 New 0 ±0
Pirate Party of Greece (KPE) 32,519 0.51 Decrease0.28 0 ±0
Society-Political Party of the Successors of Kapodistrias (Koinonia) 28,514 0.45 Increase0.29 0 ±0
Marxist–Leninist Communist Parties of Greece (KKE (m-l)/M-L KKE) 16,010 0.25 Increase0.02 0 ±0
Workers' Revolutionary Party (EEK) 6,074 0.10 Increase0.03 0 ±0
Liberal Party (KF) 3,618 0.06 New 0 ±0
Organisation for the Reconstruction of the KKE (OAKKE) 2,565 0.04 Increase0.02 0 ±0
Organisation of Internationalist Communists of Greece (OKDE) 1,783 0.03 New 0 ±0
Dignity (Axioprepeia) 799 0.01 New 0 ±0
National Resistance Movement (KEAN) 335 0.00 New 0 ±0
Panagrarian Labour Movement of Greece (PAEKE) 302 0.00 Decrease0.02 0 ±0
Panathinaikos Movement (PANKI) 18 0.00 New 0 ±0
Greek Ecologists (EI) 3 0.00 Decrease0.29 0 ±0
Regional Urban Development (PAA) 3 0.00 New 0 ±0
Independent candidates 3,008 0.05 Increase0.05 0 ±0
Total 6,324,136 100.00 300 ±0
Valid votes 6,324,136 97.64 Increase0.28
Invalid ballots 114,769 1.77 Decrease0.26
Blank ballots 37,913 0.59 Decrease0.02
Votes cast / turnout 6,476,818 65.12 Decrease5.83
Abstentions 3,469,041 34.88 Increase5.83
Registered voters 9,945,859
Source: Ministry of Interior
Vote share
ND
18.85%
SYRIZA
16.79%
PASOK
13.18%
ANEL
10.62%
KKE
8.48%
XA
6.97%
DIMAR
6.11%
OP
2.93%
LAOS
2.89%
DISY
2.55%
DIXA
2.15%
DRASI-FS
1.80%
ANTARSYA
1.19%
Others
5.48%
Parliamentary seats
ND
36.00%
SYRIZA
17.33%
PASOK
13.67%
ANEL
11.00%
KKE
8.67%
XA
7.00%
DIMAR
6.33%

Reactions

ND's Antonis Samaras said "I understand the rage of the people, but our party will not leave Greece ungoverned." Golden Dawn's Nikolaos Michaloliakos told his party supporters that "Europe of the nations returns, Greece is only the beginning" amid applaud and chants of "Greece belongs to Greeks." He also told the media: "The resistance of Golden Dawn against the bailout dictators will continue. Inside and outside the Greek parliament. We will continue the battle for Greece. Free from the international speculators. For a proud and independent Greece. For Greece without the bailout slavery and the loss of our national sovereignty."[48]

The absence of a parliamentary majority was highlighted as a reason of concern.[49] Financial analysts expressed their opinion that the poor result of the parties that had supported the austerity measures and neo-liberal economic policies would be detrimental for financial markets. The financial markets reacted negatively, with some opinions being expressed that Greece could withdraw from the eurozone before the end of 2013.[50] The Athex fell by a record 10% during the first hours of the trading day after the election.[51] At the close of the first trading day after the election, Athex had slightly recovered to a decline of 6.7%,[52] while the yield for 10-year government bond rose from 20.6% to 23.0%.[42] Following the failure of ND to form a government, European financial markets fell,[53] as well as U.S. futures markets.[54] U.S. stock indices also fell as a result.[55] As a result of the failure to form a government five days later, following both ND and SYRIZA's attempts, U.S. financial markets continued to slide.[56] After two failed attempts to form governments, Trevor Williams, the chief economist at Lloyds TSB said that the markets were beginning to factor in a Greek withdrawal from the eurozone.[57] This observation was at the same time also confirmed by a Bloomberg poll, as it showed 57% of investors now expected Greece would leave the euro in 2012.[58] Four days after the election, the Athex general index had declined 10.8%,[52] while yields for the 10-year government bond had increased from 20.6% to 24.7%.[42] Over the course of the next eight days following successive failed attempts at government formation, stock markets in Europe and elsewhere fell,[59][60] while sovereign bond yields in Italy and Spain also rose amid fears of a renewed crisis within the eurozone.[61]

A European Commission spokesman said that it had "hopes and expects that the future government of Greece will respect the engagements that Greece has entered into."[63]

Local media reactions included Imerisia [el]'s headline "Country in Limbo" and Ta Nea's "Nightmare of Ungovernability."[3]

Results by region

Region New Democracy (ND)
(%)
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA)
(%)
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK)
(%)
Independent Greeks (ANEL)
(%)
Communist Party of Greece (KKE)
(%)
Golden Dawn (XA)
(%)
Democratic Left (DIMAR)
(%)
Achaea 17.54 21.82 14.11 8.84 7.91 6.32 5.83
Aetolia-Akarnania 24.11 15.34 16.95 7.52 8.52 7.92 5.45
Argolida 28.42 12.80 13.90 8.03 5.91 9.90 5.68
Arkadia 25.60 14.65 16.08 9.10 6.73 7.78 5.36
Arta 28.28 21.67 14.41 7.03 8.43 4.50 3.84
Athens A 15.79 19.12 9.71 8.98 8.58 8.77 5.99
Athens B 12.40 21.82 9.07 11.01 9.64 6.71 6.60
Attica 13.71 19.40 8.24 13.53 8.71 9.70 5.33
Boeotia 14.78 19.41 11.96 11.96 9.12 8.20 6.70
Cephalonia 18.03 18.88 11.71 7.98 15.03 7.87 4.37
Chalkidiki 23.16 14.51 15.83 12.90 5.88 6.36 5.95
Chania 8.44 17.19 13.92 9.93 7.47 4.28 6.81
Chios 24.16 10.89 18.78 7.14 7.23 4.19 9.31
Corfu 18.30 19.40 11.84 8.95 12.82 7.27 5.66
Corinthia 21.22 14.69 15.43 9.23 4.48 11.99 5.52
Dodecanese 18.57 11.13 16.99 17.81 5.95 6.13 5.96
Drama 25.68 9.97 17.75 12.20 4.96 5.09 5.83
Elis 23.00 15.10 18.70 9.05 7.02 7.85 5.50
Euboea 14.51 18.53 12.80 13.80 8.29 8.58 6.15
Evros 28.75 7.38 18.55 11.16 5.33 6.09 5.03
Evrytania 20.96 12.22 18.99 6.23 4.14 4.19 5.31
Florina 29.59 13.16 16.34 9.06 7.98 5.61 4.69
Grevena 27.00 10.32 19.48 7.10 10.78 5.61 5.92
Imathia 21.39 12.98 16.42 12.45 9.02 7.70 5.96
Ioannina 22.90 17.61 16.21 7.80 8.66 4.23 5.90
Heraklion 9.13 15.90 19.23 12.82 6.47 2.63 9.31
Karditsa 27.86 14.30 15.17 9.35 9.90 6.02 4.37
Kastoria 29.77 11.20 12.87 13.59 5.26 7.56 3.95
Kavala 24.11 14.26 16.50 10.46 6.59 6.99 5.53
Kilkis 26.62 10.65 15.02 9.49 9.75 8.18 5.42
Kozani 23.26 14.99 14.53 10.80 8.34 5.76 6.70
Laconia 32.88 10.85 15.38 8.08 5.98 10.19 3.75
Larissa 21.05 14.13 14.26 9.83 10.98 6.05 6.33
Lasithi 14.09 13.97 23.10 8.42 4.53 2.67 6.65
Lefkada 25.25 16.03 13.99 6.78 13.21 5.55 4.35
Lesvos 18.63 14.69 13.53 11.85 16.79 4.66 5.50
Magnesia 20.12 18.00 9.92 10.75 9.57 7.01 5.99
Messenia 33.60 13.33 13.74 5.99 7.33 8.16 4.41
Naxos 17.41 17.15 11.25 12.93 6.46 6.30 8.63
Pella 27.16 9.97 18.85 9.77 6.10 7.58 6.52
Phocis 22.33 14.56 13.23 12.85 8.72 7.31 4.91
Phthiotis 24.57 15.85 14.85 10.79 6.48 7.31 4.74
Pieria 27.19 9.68 16.00 12.36 7.09 6.70 6.38
Piraeus A 16.65 19.16 8.60 12.55 7.66 8.88 6.11
Piraeus B 9.77 23.85 8.16 12.40 12.29 9.49 5.87
Preveza 26.40 15.10 16.87 8.05 9.67 5.94 5.43
Rethymno 13.06 14.58 20.37 9.47 4.24 2.98 6.24
Rhodope 18.26 9.40 26.71 5.43 4.52 3.74 3.87
Samos 17.15 14.27 11.90 8.52 24.73 5.08 4.90
Serres 30.06 9.15 15.94 10.69 6.13 6.77 4.80
Thesprotia 24.80 13.85 19.93 8.39 6.06 5.84 6.05
Thessaloniki A 14.81 17.46 10.42 11.57 9.31 6.91 7.45
Thessaloniki B 20.01 14.42 11.23 12.04 8.85 7.85 6.81
Trikala 25.23 11.97 17.13 7.62 10.94 4.90 8.60
Xanthi 21.82 24.13 12.49 7.73 4.70 4.30 5.01
Zakynthos 21.04 16.03 15.60 5.38 13.18 6.11 4.98

Analysis

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New Democracy won most districts of the Greek countryside, winning in its traditional strongholds of Macedonia and Peloponnese. However, 19% of the vote for New Democracy is an all-time low for the party, down from its previous all-time low of 33% which occurred in the previous election in 2009. SYRIZA won the highest number of votes in most urban areas, including Athens and Thessaloniki. This is the first time since the election of 1977 that a party besides New Democracy or PASOK finished as one of the top two parties. PASOK, who have spent 21 years in government on-and-off since 1981, suffered their worst defeat since 1974, reduced to just 13% of the vote. PASOK finished in first place in four prefectures: Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethymno, and Rhodope. It has been suggested that Syriza's sudden success depended on PASOK joining the right-wing pro-austerity coalition and Syriza convincing voters that it was "the only 'true' leftist party" which unlike their rivals would actively renegotiate the austerity terms.[66]

Even though the Communist Party increased its share of the vote by almost 1% and increased its presence in the parliament by 5 seats, it finished outside of the top three for the first time since 1993. The Communist Party finished in first place in the Samos Prefecture. Right-wing Golden Dawn entered parliament for the first time, while fat-right LAOS lost all parliament seats after it joined the governing coalition.

Government formation

Main article: Greek government formation, May 2012

As the election resulted in no single party with a majority of parliament seats, the Greek law stipulates a procedure, where the largest party first will be given a chance to negotiate a government formation within three days. Failing that, the second largest party will be given the chance within the next three days, and if this attempt also fails the third ranked party will get a further three days to try and form a government. If none of the three largest parties can succeed to form a government, the baton will be handed over to the president for a last neutral attempt. If the process fails, then another election will be called.[63][67]

The day after the election, President Karolos Papoulias met with the leader of New Democracy Antonis Samaras to task him with the first attempt to form a government.[3] On 8 May, Tsipras was tasked with forming a government[4] within the stipulated three days by Papoulias at noon. At the same time the EU decided to continue with Greece's disbursements which meant sending US$5.4 billion on 10 May, but an additional US$1.29 billion was held back. As a result of the political imbroglio, both PASOK and ND suggested the EU and IMF agreement could have to be re-evaluated.[68] If PASOK leader Venizelos failed Papoulias would make a final attempt to form a unity government.[69] Venizelos met with Papoulias on 12 May to return his mandate.[5]

On 12 May, an opinion poll showed that 72% of respondents felt that the parties must make mutual concessions and work together, 22.9% of them called for a new election. At the same time, 78.1% requested that the new government should do everything necessary in order to keep Greece within the eurozone.[70]

The talks failed on 15 May, with an early election expected in June.[71] A caretaker cabinet under Council of State president Panagiotis Pikrammenos was appointed on 16 May, and the election date announced to be scheduled for 17 June.[6] The formal decrete to dissolve the newly elected parliament and call for new elections at 17 June, was jointly signed by the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos at 19 May, to fully comply with the constitutional rule of calling for new elections within 30 days after having dissolved the parliament.[72]

See also

References

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