Greece’s centre-right New Democracy party took a narrow lead in June 17 2012 elections in what party leader Antonis Samaras hailed as a vote to stay in the euro, but while its slim majority will give it the right to attempt to form a governing coalition, New Democracy’s position is anything but commanding.
The June 17 vote in Greece was a sequel to a May vote which produced inconclusive results and resulted only in failed attempts at coalition-forming and a new caretaker administration.
Polls ahead of the June 17 election had foreseen gains for the far-right and leftist Syriza party, whose leader earlier had vowed – in the event of victory – to seek to re-negotiate a vastly unpopular bailout deal; a pledge many saw as, in effect, Syriza’s intention to repudiate the bailout package.
With more than 40 per cent of votes counted, New Democracy was said to have just more than 30 per cent, Syriza about 26 per cent and socialists Pasok 12.9 per cent.
Recent political history in Greece has seen both New Democracy and Pasok – respectively, the governing parties in the two previous elected governments – punished for Greece’s debt crisis and the bailout package that has led to widespread strikes and protests.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said that Greeks had voted to stay in the euro. He moved quickly to say that Greece would honour its obligations and indicated that he wanted to see a broad coalition government running the crisis-wracked country.
Projected results for other parties showed the Independent Greeks in fourth place at 7.4 per cent, the far-right Golden Dawn in fifth place at about seven per cent, the Democratic Left at 5.8 to 6.6 per cent and the Communists at 4.4 per cent.
New Democracy was in power in Greece from 2004 to 2009, when – beleaguered by alleged corruption scandals – it was succeeded by a Pasok government, which in turn fell in November 2011 to make way for the interim administration that was meant to make the deals that would open the way for Greece to emerge from the crisis.
(Photo: Photo: takis kolokotronis/sxc.hu)