In Greece parties promise change to voters

Fri, 19 May 2023 11:17 GMT
While no single party is expected to come to power on its own in the general election scheduled for May 21 in Greece, politicians continue to present their promises to the voters.
In Greece parties promise change to voters

According to polls, the ruling New Democracy party is in the lead, followed by the main opposition party SYRIZA, and the PASOK-KINAL alliance in opposition.

The fact that the parties maintain the same ranking as in the previous general election results reduces the excitement surrounding the election. Therefore, it is predicted that there will be low interest in the general election. The turnout in the 2019 general election, which saw a transition from SYRIZA to New Democracy in power, was 57.7 percent.

Members of the five parties with representation in the parliament shared their statements with AA correspondent, discussing the pre-election atmosphere and their expectations.

SYRIZA seeks a second chance

SYRIZA, which gained support from the public with anti-memorandum policies during Greece's economic crisis starting from 2009 and had to sign a memorandum agreement with the European Union (EU) and the IMF when it came to power, faced criticism for "shifting from the left to the center" and pursuing similar policies as other major parties.

The party is now asking for a second chance to implement the program it couldn't carry out while in power during the crisis.

Sotiris Aleksiu, Secretary of SYRIZA Youth Wing, stated that they were forced to sign the memorandum and noted that SYRIZA desires to implement a pro-people program that compensates for the wage cuts and income inequality caused by the memorandum.

Aleksiu stated that the policies implemented across Europe in the past 10 years have eroded people's trust in politics, saying, "Our hope is that people go to the ballot box with hope, believing that their lives can change with politics. If they don't go to the ballot box, someone else might go in their place, which may not be in their best interest."

Aleksiu called on young people to think carefully and go out and vote.

"PASOK was at the forefront in all difficult times for the country"

PASOK, one of the parties that has been in power in the country for decades, decided to participate in the election as an alliance with another left-wing party, forming the PASOK-KINAL alliance.

Yannis Papayorgopulos, Political Council Advisor of PASOK, commented on the party's decrease in support to around 8 percent, saying, "PASOK was at the forefront in all difficult times for the country, even during the memorandum period. For the good of the country, to keep the country in Europe, and in the Eurozone, the party and its members made sacrifices."

Papayorgopulos emphasized that consolidating the rule of law and ensuring prosperity in the economy are the two fundamental issues in the country.

Mera25 promises change

Mera25, founded by Yanis Varoufakis, who served as the Finance Minister alongside former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during SYRIZA's first term in power and later left the party due to the signing of the memorandum, and affiliated with the European movement DiEM25, promises a radical change, according to Jochen Schult, a member of the party who has been living in Greece for 40 years.

Schult stated that PASOK and New Democracy pursue policies that do not take into account the needs of the people in Greece, saying, "There is a program in Greece that suffocates the economy. There hasn't been any government that has made decisions for the good of the people since 2008. We want to change that."

According to KKE, the two major parties are the same

Although it is seen as a party with little chance of coming to power, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), one of the oldest parties in Greece, ranks fourth in the polls.

Efi Zafitiou, who started working in KKE's youth wing, stated that there is a perception that the election race is between New Democracy and SYRIZA, saying, "There is a huge polarization between New Democracy and SYRIZA in the pre-election atmosphere. This distinction has always existed, but it is much more intense now. In the end, we see this contrast more on television and radio. In fact, they are not opposites because their basic principles and strategies are the same. The differences are minimal."

The government seeks an opportunity to address its shortcomings

Like PASOK, New Democracy, which is a center-right party that has been in power for decades, won a majority in the 2019 elections with 39.85 percent of the votes.

Aliki Katoka, a representative of New Democracy's election campaign, said, "Our prime minister managed to overcome all of these issues with great effort. His aim for the next four years is to focus on low-income retirees."

Polls in Greece indicate the possibility of a coalition government, but if a coalition cannot be formed after the election results, it is expected that the public will go to the polls again.

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