From our Greek correspondent.
(This is a guest post by Marinos Antypas about the weekend's Greek elections.)
Well the results that have rocked the country can be analysed thus: Pasok has won its second biggest victory in its history with a 10% head from Nea Democratia and a 5% head over N.D. and LAOS (the Greek BNP) combined. It now holds 160 out of 300 Parliament seats.
Nea Democratia scored its lowest percentage ever and its most bitter defeat. Karamanlis resigned immediately as party leader, and a chain of leading ministers have announced they are dropping out of politics altogether....what a relief! Amongst them the forest-eater mental anti-green minister of the environment and public works. ND now holds only 90 seats, a plunge of 60.
This was a completely unexpected outcome as all surveys had fixed a 4% lead with a still lingering inability for Pasok to form a strong government, even if it achieved autonomy. Pasok has now promised landslide changes, starting with the founding of a Ministry of the Environment in itself and a change in the electorate system to mirror the German model (pr?). Oh and in a nice Orwellian twist it has renamed the ministry of public order as the ministry for citizen protection...
The small parties now:
KKE easily won the third position, however due to the great leak to Pasok it did lose 0,60% and one Parliamentary seat from last time, that is to 21 in total. The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the KKE has announced that the results do not reflect the real existing popular anger etc etc.
The Fascists (LAOS) were crestfallen... they had promised and threatened to get the third position, they hoped for 9% and all they got was a fraction more than last time, (about 50,000 voters) which in weird Greek politics amounts to 1,60% up to 5,5%. Their fuhrer called it "a night of sorrow" and he is right: ND had its biggest leak in history, and its "co-workers on the right" got nothing out of it. Statisticians estimate that the percentage reflects the highest possible for LAOS, a 2,3% down from their euroelection results. Common people just agree that 5% of Greeks are and always be fascist so no big deal. LAOS now holds 15 seats in Parliament instead of its 12 last time.
The Radical Left (Syriza) managed a miracle. All the media were predicting its death, its inability to make it past the 3% limit to enter parliament. And to be honest, the leftists did all they could to guarantee such an effect. But alas, the Maoist Greek soul never dies...despite the massive leakage to Pasok they got 4.6%, only 0.5% down from 2007, getting 13 seats (instead of 15) in the parliament.
The left is super-happy, because according to the statisticians, this 4.6% can now be considered as their hard-core base, on which they can build. It was also the first time a left leader has called the new PM to congratulate him. Papandreou offered Tsipras to "change the country together", but Tsipras replied he would rather work towards change by constructive opposition. These men are deep in love...
Your Greens managed to double their percentage from 2007 to 2,7% or something a mere fraction away from entering Parliament. It is possible that Papandreou will include them nevertheless in some ministry or sub-ministry if they agree, reflecting his scheme of a wide progressive government. Despite the defeat in terms of getting those seats, the percentage reflects that the common scene of radical left and ecology can get a decent 8% if they cooperate in a civil way. Wish they did!
In terms of abstention, the national total is 30%, rather high for national elections, reaching really high levels in urban areas (45% I think in Athens) and in some border areas (68% in NW Macedonia). The importance of this has been downplayed by the media, but it reflects a reserve army of voters that could just rock the boat. Municipals next year, or nationals again in March if there is no consensual Presidental candidate, will be fun.
Update: The Greens have honoured their fame as honest people: Papandreou offered their leader the new Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and they refused - claiming they remain critical of power and that they can not cooperate when there are no clear programmatic agreements.
Also Ms Damanaki, Pasok MP, ex-leader of Synaspismos (Radical Left) and the voice of the embattled Polytechneio illegal radio station during the 1973 uprising has refused to head the newly named "ministry of citizen protection" i.e. the riot police ministry of public order, which now goes to Mr Chrisochoidis, the mastermind behind the capture of the November 17 in summer 2002.
Otherwise, sadly most ministries with added adjectives or not have gone to old Pasok cadres, killing hope in the cradle. The ministry of education has gone to Ms Diamandopoulou, famous as an arch-enemy of academic asylum... storms lie ahead if she dares infringe on the constitution by letting the police into the campus.