Greek elections: Centre-right New Democracy’s slim lead ‘vote to keep euro’

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.

European Commission President Jose Barroso and European Council President Herman van Rompuy said after the results began to emerge: “We are hopeful that the election results will allow a government to be formed quickly”.
The two EU leaders said, “today, we salute the courage and resilience of the Greek citizens, fully aware of the sacrifices which are demanded from them to redress the Greek economy and build new, sustainable growth for the country.”
“We will continue to stand by Greece as a member of the EU family and of the Euro area,” Barroso and Van Rompuy said.
“We look forward to work with the new government and to support the continued efforts of Greece to put its economy on a sustainable path,” they said.
The second economic adjustment programme agreed between Greece and the Eurogroup is the basis upon which to build to foster growth, prosperity and jobs for the Greek people, the joint statement said.
“We stand ready to continue assisting Greece in achieving these goals,” Barroso and Van Rompuy said.

(Photo: Photo: takis kolokotronis/



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.