Greece has suffered a serious economic crisis since 2010. It had to wait 12 years before the European Commission lifted its economic surveillance. reinforced.
The effects of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and their impact on the national economy as well as on society raise challenges that the political sphere will be called upon to face in 2023.
In addition, the next legislative elections will mark the actions of the parties in 2023. The electoral system of “simple proportional representation” applied in the next elections favors the formation of a coalition government and practically eliminates the possibility of a party government. unique. The parties will be called upon to decide whether they will form coalitions to govern or whether the country will proceed to second elections. In the current toxic political atmosphere, repeat elections are the prevailing scenario. However, political instability, especially in these turbulent times.
Greek government survives vote of no confidence ahead of election
Greece’s government survived a vote of no confidence on Friday (January 27th) as expected following a motion by the country’s opposition leader over a wiretapping scandal that stung the centre-right ruling party in the run up to the elections.
The vote followed a heated three-day parliamentary debate. The motion was expected to fail as the ruling New Democracy party holds a comfortable majority of 156 seats.
Of the 300 members of parliament, 143 voted in favor of the motion of no confidence while 156 voted against. A deputy was absent.
The leader of the main opposition Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, said on Wednesday when he tabled the motion that it would force Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to respond publicly to the scandal, in which a series of high-ranking politicians, ministers of government and military officers were reportedly under surveillance.
During the acrimonious debate, Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of personally ordering the wiretaps.
The wiretapping scandal erupted in earnest in August 2022, when a senior government official and the head of the country’s intelligence agency resigned following revelations that a socialist politician – who was later elected leader of the third largest Greek party – had been under telephone surveillance.
“You knew very well that the surveillance had taken place, and you knew very well that the surveillance had taken place because you ordered it, Mr. Mitsotakis,” Tsipras said.
The government also later introduced legislation strengthening the regulations on the use of spyware in the country.
“The government and I have spoken clearly from the start,” Mitsotakis said in response to Tsipras’ speech, noting that he had assumed political responsibility, replaced people in specific positions related to the scandal, and that the government had recently voted on legislation modifying the functioning of the Greek national intelligence services.
As elections are being held virtually simultaneously in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey this year, 2023 is an “unusual year” and was a factor that needed to be taken into account, government spokesman Yiannis Economou pointed out in an interview on Tuesday. on the radio.
“On the other hand, it would be good to avoid any ‘dramatization’ that something bad is going to happen at this time or that we are on the verge of a ‘hot’ incident,” he said. added, noting that Greece was ready to respond effectively. to all challenges at any time and in any situation.
Yiannis Economou stressed that Greece will not budge on issues concerning its sovereign rights and international law.
He confirmed that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was considering legislative action to prevent a party formed by convicted former Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris from taking part in the elections, expressing hope that it would find support among others. gone.
On the issue of wiretapping and the controversy surrounding the opinions of Supreme Court prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos regarding the functioning of the Hellenic Authority for Communications Security and Privacy (ADAE), according to Economou, pointed out that the government does not has neither challenged nor dictated the opinions of judicial or independent authorities.
Regarding Turkey, he said that Greece was open to dialogue but at the same time assessed the facts as they really are.
“The truth is that Turkey has long been in the realm of the absurd when it comes to our ability to discuss, to resolve our differences on the basis of international law,” said Economou, Yiannis Economou.
“On the other hand, once the parameter (of the next elections) is removed in Turkey as well, with all that means regarding the attitude, rhetoric and approach taken by Turkish officials, it will be a window of opportunity that must be taken into account,” he added.
In 2020, tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter the European Union through the land border between Greece and Turkey at Evros after Ankara said it would no longer prevent migrants from trying crossing.
Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for June 18, but the Ankara government plans to hold them earlier. “Since this date coincides with the summer vacation season when people travel, we are considering bringing the date forward slightly,” ruling AK party spokesman Omer Celik said earlier this month. this. The possible dates for early elections circulating in the Turkish press are April 30, May 7 and May 14.
Ankara has stepped up its rhetoric against Greece in recent months, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even warning in December that a missile could hit the Greek capital unless “you stay calm”. Heightened pre-election tensions are possible in the region as the two elections more or less coincide.
Must not be overshadowed by errors and forgeries
Allegations that other senior officials, journalists and cabinet members have also been targeted by spyware capable of spying on phone calls, storing contacts and data and accessing device microphones and cameras have sparked a judicial inquiry.
Tsipras said the Greek Communications Security and Privacy Authority confirmed, following a request he made to them for more information, that other people who had also been placed under surveillance phone calls included the government’s own labor minister, the chief of the national defense staff, the former army chief, a former national security adviser, and former and current chiefs of defense armaments.
“How patriotic is it for you to have the leadership of the armed forces under surveillance? I ask you,” Tsipras said.
This was done, Mitsotakis said, “without our ignoring the mistakes that were made, but also without our intention being to dismantle a critical state structure, whose overall contribution to national security, I repeat, should not not be eclipsed by isolated errors and forgeries”.
Mitsotakis’ term ends in July and elections will be held under a proportional representation system, making it difficult for any candidate to win, increasing the chances of a second vote and a period of uncertainty. increased politics.
After emerging from previous bailouts in 2018, Greece hoped to regain such ratings – wholeheartedly endorsing its return to fiscal normalcy – by early 2023, ahead of a national election that could spark political uncertainty.
Greece will have to wait until after this year’s parliamentary elections to regain its long-awaited investment rating, and it will only do so if the new government remains on the path of reform and fiscal prudence, analysts said. Reuters.
It is obvious that 2023 will be a politically difficult year for the country. The parties will be called upon to make crucial decisions and put aside any differences with other parties for the benefit of the country.
A poll of intention to vote organized in November 2022 by the company Alco on behalf of the broadcaster Alpha, revealed that ND still has a lead of 7.3 points over the second party in the intention to vote, SYRIZA. In particular, the projections give ND 30.3% of the intention to vote, 23% for SYRIZA and 11.4% for the third socialist party PASOK-Movement for Change.
According to the different electoral scenarios, the formation of a one-party government in the next elections is not possible. Thus, ND – which should win in the votes – will have to cooperate with another party in order to form a government. However, even if ND wants to cooperate with the right-wing Greek solution, the seats of the two parties combined will not reach the parliamentary majority.
SYRIZA aims at the formation of a “progressive alliance” including the cooperation of all progressive parties in parliament. Thus, Tsipras, the leader of SYRIZA, publicly supported cooperation with PASOK. However, in the next elections, the seats of SYRIZA and PASOK combined are unlikely to reach a parliamentary majority.
Endogenous and exogenous factors can play a role in voting intention in the following months. The wiretapping of the leader of PASOK during his nomination as leader of the party in the internal PASOK elections and the allegations by Androulakis, as well as Tsipras, that the Prime Minister is directly involved in the surveillance affair may affect the intention to vote. For example, the poll conducted by Alco in November found that 64% of respondents were unconvinced by the Prime Minister’s statement that he was not involved in the wiretapping affair.
The recent corruption scandal of Kaili, member of the European Parliament and socialist of PASOK could lead to a drop in the party’s percentages.
The energy crisis and its consequences on the economy can also play a role in electoral results, as well as in foreign policy issues, such as Greek-Turkish relations.
Still, the base salary hike in April, tax reduction policies, and government subsidies may boost ND’s popularity. The return of the Parthenon marbles to the country could also be on ND’s pre-election agenda.
Current scenarios for the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2023 reveal that forming a government will be difficult, as cross-party cooperation will be mandatory. If a government cannot be formed, the country will hold second elections.
The next Greek elections will be held under a proportional representation system, which makes it almost impossible for any candidate to win outright; and a second ballot is taken for granted, indicating a long period of political uncertainty.
Mitsotakis said he has not decided whether the elections will be held in April or May. “From April, elections can be held at any time,” he told local newspaper Proto Thema in an interview.
On January 14 during a tour of the northern region of Evros, near the land border with Turkey, the Greek Prime Minister declared that “elections will take place in the spring, essentially at a time when we will have practically exhausted our four-year term”. He added that he would stand as a candidate in Evros for symbolic reasons.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is likely to visit Greece, Turkey and Israel late next month ahead of elections in the region, according to Greek and Turkish media.
The political instability generated by repeated elections must be minimized and party leaders must act for the benefit of the country and not for the benefit of their own political parties.
2023 will be economically, geopolitically and politically challenging for Greece and political cohesion will help the country overcome obstacles and continue on the path to economic recovery.