Today's national elections in Greece could see the end to a two-
party monopoly over politics as discontent over the economic crisis
generates interest in smaller parties.
Greeks are casting their votes today in national elections that
could end a 40-year era of political stability as economic hardships
drive voters toward fringe parties.
For more than four decades, two major political forces - the
socialist party PASOK and the liberal New Democracy (ND) party -
have been ruling the country, collecting more than 70 percent of the
elector's vote. This time, experts are saying that it's possible
that the two parties gather less than 45 percent of the votes.
"Historically, it's the first time that the pillar of the
political system, the bipartisanship, has been [shaken]," says Takis
Kafetzis, professor of Political Science at the University of
The continuous austerity measures and the sense that the
political system of patronage has created a dysfunctional, corrupt
state have led voters to look for something new.
"I wouldn't vote for the two parties that are primarily
responsible for the Greek bankruptcy," says Aris Molfetas, a lawyer.
"Their toxic governance cannot inflict change, since they have been
addicted to ruling Greece through corporatocracy, bureaucracy, and
corruption. They both belong in the past."
Polls show that for the first time, eight to nine parties will
collect more than 3 percent of the votes, which is the threshold to
enter the Parliament, but none of them will collect enough votes to
form a government.
As the polls last released for the public two week ago showed, ND
is expected to get 19 percent of the votes and PASOK 14.5 percent.
But according to electoral law, the first party receives a 50 seats
bonus in the Parliament, which might give the two parties together a
marginal majority to form a government.
According to the polls, more than 50 percent of the votes are
expected to go to six other parties. From the Left, three parties
are expected to gather the 3 percent threshold needed to enter the
Parliament, with the Communist Party expected to receive 8 percent,
and the pro-Europe parties Syriza 7.3 percent, and Democratic Left
Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, has proposed a "Government
of the Left," with the three smaller left parties uniting. "[The
people] know that with a government like that [...] first the
paychecks and the pensions will be paid and then the loan sharks,"
Tsipras said in an interview with Ta Nea, a Greek newspaper.
But, decades of disagreement among the smaller left parties seem
to be an obstacle in any talks for cooperation. "Our differences are
big," said Aleka Papariga, the General Secretary of the Communist