Upcoming Greek Elections: The SYRIZA-PASOK Coalition?

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On March 28, 2023, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that general elections would be held on May 21, 2023. In his statement on the subject, Mitsotakis stated that the elections would be renewed on July 2, 2023 if no party could obtain the majority in the parliament to form a government on its own.[1]

According to the system in the country in question, the party that received 45 percent of the votes in the first stage of the elections could form a government alone; if no party can reach this rate, the elections are renewed and the first party in the renewed elections is authorized to form a coalition government.[2] Looking at the public opinion polls, it seems certain that the elections will go to the second round. Because no party is expected to receive 45 percent of the vote. This indicates that the New Democracy Party led by Mitsotakis will come to an end on its own.

At this point, it should be noted that; in the surveys conducted in September 2022, the vote of the New Democracy Party was 34.5 percent; it was determined that the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) had 26.5 percent and the Movement for Change (PASOK) 12 percent.[3] However, it has been observed that there have been some changes in voter tendencies in the intervening time. As a matter of fact, as of March 2023, surveys are published stating that the difference between the New Democracy Party and SYRIZA has decreased to 2.9 points.[4] This shows that there is a tough election competition in Greece.

In fact, until the last months, it was thought that there was no serious obstacle to the continuation of the New Democracy Party’s power. In this sense, an idea has come to the fore that the internal and external conjuncture is in favor of the Mitsotakis administration.

To explain the situation in question, it is generally accepted that the Greek people would vote in favor of stability since Greece has largely overcome the effects of the economic crisis of the 2010s and is one of the European states least affected by the crises caused by the Russian-Ukrainian War. As a matter of fact, Greece’s efforts to become an energy center after the Russia-Ukraine War and its success in promoting itself in the context of winter tourism have been considered as an important success.

In terms of foreign policy, it is known that Greece works in harmony with the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA). On the one hand, the Mitsotakis administration, which won the appreciation of the USA as an ardent supporter of the ceiling price application to Russia; on the other hand, it tried to legitimize its unlawful theses in the Eastern Mediterranean with the energy companies of the USA and EU member countries, and in a sense, it made relative progress in turning the international conjuncture in its favor with the bribes it gave. This includes Greece’s close relations with actors such as Egypt and Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean and its cooperations with actors such as the USA, Germany and France within the scope of its armament policy within the framework of its military modernization claim. Therefore, it is possible to argue that the West does not want a change of power in Greece.

In such an atmosphere, as the election approached, the expectation that the New Democracy Party would increase its votes and reach the threshold of 45 percent and come to power alone constituted the dominant view. However, contrary to expectation, it is seen that SYRIZA quickly closed its vote gap. It is even possible for SYRIZA to become the first party after the campaign process accelerates.

It can be said that two developments were effective in changing the direction of the wind in the election atmosphere in Greece. The first of these is the eavesdropping scandal, which caused the pressure on Mitsotakis to increase both in domestic and foreign policy, and especially in the European Parliament. In Greece, the intelligence agency affiliated to the Prime Minister listened to the opposition politicians, which aroused wide repercussions and drew the reaction of both the domestic public and the international community.

Although the management of Mitsotakis stated that the eavesdropping developed outside of themselves, this possibility means that Mitsotakis could not control the institutions affiliated to it and it brings with it a loss of prestige. However, the more controversial aspect of the issue is the idea that this event could not have occurred independently of the Prime Minister. This led to the discussion of the allegations that Mitsotakis became authoritarian. It seems; SYRIZA and PASOK have increased their influence on the electorate on the occasion of this issue.

Another incident that has decreased the electoral support of the Mitsotakis administration is the train accident that took place on February 28, 2023 in Tempi, 26 km from Larisa, killing 57 people. Mitsotakis administration accepted the resignation of Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis after the accident; although it wanted to eliminate the reaction against the government, it can be said that the collision of two trains on the same line in 2023 showed that the Athens administration could not make a significant progress in terms of railway modernization, and this led the undecided voters to the opposition.

As a result, as the Greek elections approach, the wind is blowing in favor of the opposition. Although the New Democracy Party ranks first in the polls showing the trend of public opinion in the current situation, it is clear that SYRIZA is in an upward trend. Although it is not possible to complete the Greek elections in the first stage, the SYRIZA-PASOK coalition in the second round will not be a surprise.

[1] “Yunanistan’da Seçim Tarihi Açıklandı: 21 Mayıs”, BBC Türkçe,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Ruling ND Maintains 8-pt Lead over SYRIZA”, Ekathimerini,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

[4] “Poll finds ND’s Lead over SYRIZA Slips to 2.9 Points”, Ekathimerini,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN, 2014 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2017 yılında Giresun Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası Güç İlişkileri Bağlamında İkinci Dünya Savaşı Sonrası Hegemonik Mücadelelerin İncelenmesi’’ başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora derecesini ise 2021 yılında Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı‘nda hazırladığı “İmparatorluk Düşüncesinin İran Dış Politikasına Yansımaları ve Milliyetçilik” başlıklı teziyle alan Başaran’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, İran araştırmaları ve Afganistan çalışmalarıdır. Başaran iyi derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Farsça bilmektedir.