Elections in Greece, ballot boxes open to choose the new government

Almost ten million citizens called to the polls to choose the new government: general elections and open polls in Greece. The latest polls give the outgoing premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of the conservative party of Nea Dimokratia, the lead, with a percentage of votes around 35-38% and a gap of 5-7 points over his main rival, Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza. The polls are open from 6.00 to 18.00 Italian time.

Cautious optimism on the left

But there is cautious optimism within the ranks of the main Greek left-wing party: 438,000 young people between the ages of 17 and 21 are called to vote, and overall the percentage of undecided is around 10%. A pool from which the opposition leader Alexis Tsipras hopes to draw to join his rival and thus try to form a progressive coalition government with the other parties, including the socialist Pasok, the third political force in the country which, according to forecasts, he could get 10% of the votes.

The unknown youth

The result is affected by the uncertainty of the youth vote, and the possibility that no party will be able to obtain a majority to govern. Growing up during the Greek debt crisis, when Alexis Tsipras was elected prime minister for the first time in 2015, the youngest voters went through an uninterrupted series of crises during their adolescence: first the economic one, then the pandemic emergency and finally the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine which brought inflation to 12% last autumn. Youth unemployment, despite not being comparable to that of ten years ago, nonetheless remains one of the highest in the Eurozone, and is close to 24%. Disillusioned with a ruling class considered indifferent and corrupt, young people were the protagonists of the massive demonstrations that followed the Tebi train crash on February 28, in which 57 people lost their lives, including many university students, and are among the voters who followed the wiretapping scandal that overwhelmed the government last summer with more attention, especially through social media. For his part, outgoing premier Mitsotakis is banking on the popularity he enjoys among the middle class and pensioners and claims the signs of growth recorded in the economic field.

Hypothesis of new elections in July

Greece exited the European surveillance program last year and recorded a growth rate of 5.9%, thanks in part to an excellent tourist season. In addition to the increase in the minimum wage and pensions that took place during the last years of government, the Conservative premier claims the decrease in the number of asylum seekers in the Greek islands and the strengthening of national defense, with the purchase of new armaments, on the border with Turkey. If he emerges victorious, his party may still not obtain an absolute majority in the 300-seat parliament, given the current simple proportional system with which voting will take place. In that case, Mitsotakis clarified that he was aiming for new elections in early July, with a new electoral system that provides for a bonus of seats for the leading party and which could ensure self-sufficiency for Nea Dimokratia.