Friday, September 29

All the keys to understanding the elections in Greece

According to the polls, no party would achieve the absolute majority necessary to be able to form a government, so everything indicates that a second election or difficult negotiations between the forces of the left will be necessary to achieve a stable coalition.

The two main rivals in these elections are the outgoing prime minister, the conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and his predecessor, the leftist Alexis Tsipras. Both mobilized their voters this Friday, two days before a vote that is announced to be close.

Economic growth

Despite the pandemic and the energy crisis, the Kyriakos Mitsotakis executive has managed to improve substantially economic growth rates during his legislature, even above what was expected by the European Union. Last April, the country’s Ministry of Economy announced that the primary surplus reached 2,434 million euros in the first four months of the year, compared to the budget forecast of 869 million euros. It is also expected that tourism presents an increase of 10% in the next three years. This added to the fact that the Hellenic economy is not intervened by international creditors, augurs a quite positive financial future for the country.

inflation in greek households

There have been many measures that the conservative government has applied in recent months to alleviate the effects of inflation and the financial crisis. Among them, the so-called “household basket” stands out, which consists of a series of basic necessities that have maintained a fixed and competitive price since it was launched in autumn or aid for heating diesel. In addition, since last April the interprofessional minimum wage went from 713 to 780 euros and the unemployment benefit went from 438 to 472 euros per month.

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However, these measures have not been able to alleviate the difficulties of households in coping with the loss of purchasing power after ten years of financial crisis. According to data from Elsat, the Greek statistics agency, about two million Greeks are at risk of poverty (the country has a population of less than eleven million people) with the Ionian Islands, mainland Greece, the north of the Aegean and the northeast of the country being the most affected regions of Greece.

However, there has been a slight improvement in relation to last year’s data. Dímitra Georagopulu, mother of two children, tells ABC that her economic capacity has been reduced in recent years, especially after the pandemic “every month we have to rack our brains and we can’t make ends meet with more than 5 euros in her pocket”, laments the young woman who assures that this winter she has not been able to turn on the heating.

Both the conservative Mitsotakis and the leftist Alexis Tsipras have promised in their electoral programs that they would strengthen the country’s middle class, the great one forgotten during the years of the economic crisis, with measures that help to alleviate the tax burdens, especially for workers for own account.

The train accident

The accident after the frontal collision of two trains in Tempe, near Lárisa last February has exposed the country’s enormous deficiencies in infrastructure, transport safety and in the administration of European funds. In addition, the election of Kostas Karamanlís, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport at the time of the tragic incident that left 57 fatalities, the majority of them students, caused a new wave of public outrage that has been accentuated after the electoral debate on May 10 and that has led the Association of Relatives of the Victims of Tempe to file a complaint against 13 involved, including Kiriakos Mitsitakis and Karamanlís.

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The discontent of the young

During the electoral campaign, there have been many attempts by political parties to gain the trust of younger voters, who have lost confidence in the political system after the train accident. The conservative New Democracy has tried by all means to win back their trust with electoral promises like the one announced last week in which it promises a leisure voucher worth 150 euros to young people who this year are of legal age. For his part, Tsipras has tried to attract this disappointed youth by including the rapper Mithridatis or the young robotics engineer Diana Vuturaku on his lists.

During the electoral campaign, there have been many attempts by political parties to gain the trust of younger voters.

Voting intention data

The data provided by the latest voting intention polls continue to show the conservative New Democracy as the list with the most votes, with 6.7% ahead of the radical left party Syriza-Progressive Alliance. Mitsotakis aspires to get an absolute majority necessary to allow him to renew his mandate since it is the first time that the bonus that rewarded the party with the most votes in the general elections will not be applied.

New Democracy and Greek Solution on the right and Syriza-AP, Pasok-Kinal, MeRA25 and the communist party KKE on the left, that is, the six parties that have a parliamentary group, according to the polls, would again exceed the necessary 3% of the votes that would open the door to Parliament again.

Immigration, a key issue

Immigration and the defense of the borders with Turkey have been one of the basic pillars of the electoral strategy of the conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has inaugurated one of the sections of the border fence in Evros, the land border with Turkey.

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Although Notis Mitarakis, Minister of Migration and Asylum, has affirmed that the country is not currently facing a migration crisis, as evidenced by the closure of most immigrant reception centers of the country, the image of a country that cares for its borders and that fights against illegal immigration is the one that has transcended the most during the two weeks of the campaign, being one of the issues that most worries the conservative Greek electorate.

The publication of the ‘New York Times’ this Friday a video where a coast guard vessel was seen making a hot return of 12 people, including several minors and a few-month-old baby, has once again highlighted compliance of the European border management regulations by the Greek authorities.

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