Greek Elections

On July 7th 2019, Greece’s New Democracy party returned to power after 4 years with a sweeping victory in the recent parliamentary elections.

New Democracy (also known as ND) is a center-right, pro-EU, classical liberal party led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s new Prime Minister. Mitsotakis has replaced Alexis Tsipras, leader of the democratic socialist, alter-globalist, populist party Syriza, which suffered a major defeat.

To illustrate the sheer size of the swing between the two major parties, ND will go from 78 to 158 seats in the Hellenic Parliament and Syriza will drop from 144 to 86.

Greece has been attempting to quell an economic crisis for several years and, although his supporters argue that Tsipras has done a sufficient job (while also having to deal with a rebellion from within his own party), the crisis has ushered in a new age of leadership for the nation and soured public opinion of Syriza.

This election was a resounding success for ND and is part of a growing shift in Europe towards populism and right-wing ideologies. 

Populism — both on the right and the left — has become popular in Europe. Concerns regarding the economy, immigration, and the EU have boosted right-wing parties all over the continent. Extremist parties have also gained traction, though more so on the right than on the left; Islamophobia has been weaponized by countless far-right parties to gain seats in legislative bodies. 

However, the Golden Dawn party, which the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner described in 2013 as “neo-Nazi and violent,” suffered — did not attain the 3% minimum to gain seats in Parliment

All in all, the results of this election are interesting to say the least. As Golden Dawn performed so poorly, there is little cause for concern over the potential rise of a far-right wing in Greece. ND, though it is right-leaning, is still a fairly moderate party, particularly by the standards of most European nations. The results of this election suggest that the people of Greece do not support radical ideologies but are clamoring for change.

However, the results of this election do reaffirm the suspicions of many: populism and the right are on the rise in Europe, fueled by fear, xenophobia, and ultimate mistrust of the government. Though ND may not align with some of the more fearful beliefs that are sweeping over Europe, it’s success is still indicative of the growing power of the right. 

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