Who are the Independent Greeks?

In November 2011, the decision of New Democracy MP for Athens B, Panos Kammenos, to vote against the government of Lucas Papademos in a vote of confidence resulted in his expulsion from ND’s parliamentary group. Three months later, on 24 February 2012, on his personal social networking accounts, on Facebook and Twitter, Kammenos announced the founding of a new party.

Snapshot of Golden Dawn

Emergence and stabilization of the far-right phenomenon

The electoral emergence and consolidation of Golden Dawn (XA) in the party system in the era of the Memorandum took place in two phases: a) during the period February-May 2012 and b) after the elections. Up to January 2012, the party’s voter support had been non-existent.Then, the enactment of the second Memorandum triggered rapid changes on the political scene. The country’s political system embarked on a period of radical reconstruction.

The Communist Party of Greece in the age of the Memorandum

Defeat and standstill The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) does not figure among the political forces that have been strengthened during the turbulent four years of the Memorandum. Having consolidated its position during the 2004-2007 election cycle, thanks to the gradual waning of PASOK, its fortunes again declined at the beginning of the crisis, due to the sudden collapse of New Democracy and the unexpected rebound of George Papandreou in elections in 2009. KKE’s electoral strength fell from 8.2% in parliamentary elections in 2007, to 7.5%, with a loss of 67,000 votes.

The rise and fall of Democratic Left

The government crisis caused by the closure of state broadcaster ERT resulted in the withdrawal of Democratic Left (DIMAR) and an inglorious end to the three-party coalition. This development reopens the question concerning the outlook for the ‘Center-Left’. In elections in 2012, this portion of the party spectrum was mainly represented by two party formations, the remnants of PASOK and DIMAR, whose ideological and political positions to a great extent overlap. In aggregate, the two parties polled 18.5% in the June elections, over 1 million (1,141,000) votes. They thus constituted a strong bulwark against the rapid advance of the Left, which today has become destabilized.

The PASOK party of Evangelos Venizelos

Tracking the ongoing post-election decline

In parliamentary elections in 2012, voter disapproval of both government parties was unprecedented. PASOK was punished more severely for Greece’s recourse to the IMF and the signing of the first Memorandum, two years earlier. The party was crushed at the polls, receiving just 13.2% (833,527 votes) and even less in repeat elections in June (755,868, 12.3%). The first percentage was even lower than what the party had polled when it first appeared on the Greek political scene in 1974 (13.4%).

Where is SYRIZA headed?

Electoral emergence and momentum of the new party of the Left

Since last June, a new party of the Left has been representing over ¼ of the electorate, after increasing its voter support fivefold in less than three years (from 4.6% or 316,000 votes in October 2009). The significant electoral defeat eventually suffered by the party does not alter the fact that it has undergone a spectacular political transformation.

From the fragmentation of the Right to the conservative backlash

New Democracy one year after elections

In May 2012, New Democracy’s share of the vote (18.85%) proved to be the lowest ever received by the main party of the Right in Greece. But the crushing of PASOK was no less important than this crisis of the Right. It was clear that the Memorandum had deeply divided the conservative party too, a development of enormous political importance.

Parties & party system in transition

In Greece, perhaps more than in any other country, the political repercussions of the economic crisis have been momentous. The collapse of the two-party system in the elections of 2012, as a result of three years of tough measures under the terms of the bailout Memorandum, brought to the surface a very deep crisis of representation, leading to sweeping new political alignments. One year later, the developments and transformations taking place within the country’s old and new political parties are continuing at an undiminished pace. In recent times, the formation of some new ‘party’ has been announced on an almost monthly basis, whilst the likelihood of a reappearance in the next elections of the ‘pulverization’ seen in the May elections is returning. However, the real fact that has been obscured is the discrediting and dramatic contraction of the institutional role of the political parties, in the framework of the new political system that is emerging, namely a grossly enfeebled, almost virtual parliamentarianism.