It hasn’t happened in 60 years, but nine parties hope to win seats in Greece’s parliamentary elections this Sunday, September 20 2015. According to opinion polls, it is highly unlikely that any of them will win an absolute majority.
A total of 19 parties are vying for Greece’s 300 parliamentary seats, which will be contested in a vote this Sunday. According to opinion polls, it is highly unlikely that any of them will win an absolute majority. Up until the debt standoff began in 2009, it had always been the rule in Greece that one party held the majority alone, or was able to force new elections to secure one in short order. Not least of all, such claims to power were made possible by an idiosyncrasy of the Greek electoral system, which awards the strongest party in an election with 50 bonus seats in parliament. The theory behind the system is that it helps establish stable governments and avoids long bouts of haggling over ministerial posts among parties.
In other words: Should Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras or Evangelos Maimarakis, the head of the conservatives, win by just one vote this Sunday, his party will be awarded 50 extra seats in parliament. Yet, according to polls, no party can expect to rule by itself, even with the bonus seats, simply because votes will be cast for so many different parties.
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(Photo: Hellenic Parliament/ Aliki Eleftheriou)