The government’s latest failings and the relative deterioration of the general political and economic climate, as recorded in this month’s political barometer, clearly do not benefit the government’s standing, nor of course its electoral support. According to Public Issue’s monthly vote estimate (Figure 1), the voting intention for New Democracy remains unchanged in November (27%), while electoral support for the other government partner has dropped slightly (6%, -1%). In contrast, a sizeable segment of the electorate is increasingly turning to the main opposition party, pinning on the latter their hopes for a change in the government policy being implemented. SYRIZA’s voter support, following a decline in October, shows a resurgence in November (+3%) to reach 38.5%
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.
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.
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.
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.