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Greece’s elections: Public polls show no clear winner, yet coalition options are limited

Frustrated and austerity-hit Greeks are in a huge dilemma: should they cast their vote for the political party they despise the least or should they vote for the party they believe it can handle with the least pain the 3. bailout agreement for the next four years? OK, it is a political utopia to think that a government ruling under the strict ‘auspices’ of the lenders can remain in power for longer than 2 years, as the recent political history taught us – with the peak being SYRIZA in power for just 7 months.

The derby is beyond any doubt between left-wing SYRIZA and conservative New Democracy, with both parties to fight vote by vote until the ballots are closed at 7 pm on Sunday.

Predictions are impossible, even two days before the elections. Even in the most recent public opinion polls, published today Friday, SYRIZa and ND run neck and neck and once it is the left-wing leading in voters’ preference, once it is the right-wing.

Public Opinion Polls published on Friday, September 18th 2015:

Metrisi: ND 28.5% SYRIZA 27.1%

ALCO: SYRIZA 25.5%, ND 25%

Metorn Analysis: 31.9% ND, 31.6% SYRIZA

Pulse: SYRIZA, ND 28%

Interview: ND 30%, SYRIZA 28%

Yet still 50% of the respondents believe that it will be SYRIZA that will win the elections, get the 50-seat bonus and lead Greece’s next coalition government. But with whom?


The scenarios about the coalition options for the next day are almost certain depending on who will be the winner and how many parties will pass the 3% threshold.

SYRIZA former coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) has very slim chances to secure the entrance to the Parliament. It is impossible, as in no public opinion poll, the nationalist party gets more than 2.5%.

Far-right extremists of Golden Down lie ahead of pro-lenders PASOK/DemLeft alliance and To Potami and secures the 3. position. But neither SYRIZA, nor ND will ever cooperate with them.

Communist KKE is often ahead of PASOK/DemLeft and To Potami but with its declared anti-EU, anti-bailout agreement stance is excluded from the list of potential coalition partners.

Excluded from the list is also Lafazanis’ Popular Unity that split from SYRIZA due to disagreement over signing the 3. bailout.

Given these factors, the most prominent and possible scenarios for the next day are:

  1. Elections winner SYRIZA forms a coalition with PASOK/Demleft and To Potami

 2. Elections winner New Democracy forms a coalition with PASOK/Demleft and To Potami. Or with Leventis’ Centrists’ Union, which is rather unlikely.

Here is to note that while ND supports the idea of cooperating with SYRIZA, Tsipras has so far rejected such option.

Of course, there is the possibility of a grand coalition of SYRIZA, ND, PASOK/Demleft, To Potami, should the winner receive really low rates.

While the minimum number of seats a simple majority government needs is 151 in a Parliament of 300, it is considered much too risky. Any party that wants to remain in power beyond the second austerity bill it will pass through the Parliament considers more than 160-165 seats as a “safety zone”.

Fact is no matter which party will be first, PASOK/DemLeft and/or To Potami will be partner’s of Greece’s next coalition government. A “scary” perspective for some voters.

However: none should exclude also the possibility of a second round of elections…

On Sunday the ballot boxes will be open from 7 am to 7 pm, the Exit Polls will be made public at 07:01 pm. The first official result about the winner is expect by the Interior Ministry around 9:00 – 9:30 pm – unless voters will decide to keep the thriller ongoing.

PS I hear, Germany in particular and lenders’ in general favor a ND/PASOK/Demleft/To Potami coalition. So maybe SYRIZA will win, after all.

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  1. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Voters travelling by car from Europe pick up some refugees on their way back into the cold north?

  2. What position does to potami stand for? The only thing i repeatedly heard is that they are somehow pro european which doesnt say much except that they are to the extreme left or right.

    • following Potami since 2014 EP elections I can say one thing: I have no idea what it stands for part from being pro-Europe and pro-bailout agreement.

      • I have a suspicion they are very flexible and will stand with whoever wants to take them on board and let them in to government. Any government will do, as long as it pays…
        This is a prime example why the electorate MUST demand a detailed, costed program from ALL parties. In fact, I believe that no party should be allowed to contest an election without such a detailed, costed program, and a time-frame within which they intend to accomplish their program. But then, that’s me. I like making politicians lives difficult and even ask that they take responsibility and are held to account. Bad me…

  3. Is Samaras still involved?

  4. Reading this report from European Central Bank (page 7), one can see that the reasons for the crisis were all well known by the European Institutions and totally different from what the media offers to public consumption as propaganda

    The financial crisis that started in the summer of 2007 originated in the US mortgage market.
    The sharp increase in defaults revealed the exuberance in the housing market and brought the sub-prime lending business to a sudden halt. The securitisations market froze, banks had to record assets held by special purpose vehicles on their balance sheets and confidence in funding markets was eroded. The crisis spread rapidly through the worldwide financial sector. Central banks across the world responded to the emerging crisis by injecting very large amounts of liquidity into the financial system. The liquidity crisis appeared to be turning into a solvency crisis and governments started to take traditional rescue measures directed at financial institutions. The early support measures took the form of credit lines to failing institutions and rescue mergers. In September 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers sent a shockwave through the global financial system, leading to a sharp rise in risk aversion, mistrust between financial players and a drying-up of the funding markets. When the confidence of depositors was affected, governments and central banks were forced to act swiftly to avert the failure of their financial systems. In Europe, after an emergency meeting of the euro area countries in October 2008, EU governments implemented coordinated support measures to alleviate the strain on their banking systems and to restore confidence.

    European Central Bank, Statistics Paper Series No 7 / April 2015