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My favorite (political) country held elections again and the results are both defeat and victory for Alexis Tsipras, outgoing PM. Some quick thoughts. #Thread #greekelections2019
1. There was never any doubt mainstream right New Democracy (ND) was going to win elections, and parliamentary majority was also long expected (biggest party gets bonus of 50 seats!).
2. ND will have solid majority and, at least, starts in fairly positive circumstances... economy bad but not terrible, Macadonia issue "solved", business and politics have to have reliable ND back (although both warmed up significantly towards Tsipras in past years).
3. If SYRIZA does indeed get above 30%, and only single digit difference to ND, this is quite a feat and probably shows that Tsipras' gamble to hold elections early, and during vacation period, paid off (ca. 56% turnout historically low).
4. KEY POINT: Tsipras is stand to lose less than 4% after betraying practically every major election promise he made in early 2015! 😲
5. How did he do that? By outsmarting opposition in 2015, and calling early elections, using chaos within opposition, and then ride out full period, largely ignoring his previous promises and rhetoric and instead looking serious to domestic and, particularly, foreign audiences.
6. Domestically, Syriza tried to replace PASOK, in terms of policies and rhetoric, but was significantly hampered by much more limited financial and political space. Still, key sectors were promoted and populist rhetoric was employed to blame "elite" for any failures.
7. In the end, relatively few abandoned him and Syriza, both in September 2015 and in July 2019. More "radical" left alternatives failed in 2015 and barely succeeded in 2019 -- although, to delight of international media, and himself, Varoufakis is back!
8. Interestingly, Greece bucked the broader European trend in at least two significant ways.
9. First, the far right lost. While the new and more radical Hellenic Solution by and large replaced ANE, Golden Dawn lost big -- even more than in EP2019 -- and could be out of parliament again (3% threshold).
10. Second, and more substantially, Greek parliament will be less fragmented than before. Even if Golden Dawn makes it, there will be fewer parties in parliament (6 or 7 versus 8 in 2015) and big parties increased their share (roughly by 6%).
11. In fact, with biggest two parties having just over 70% of vote, Greece is one of few remaining (more or less) two party systems -- particularly given 50 seat bonus.
12. While polarization remains high, between "populists" and "anti-populists", this is now primarily discursive and not in terms of policies. Expect not too many big changes, particularly not with regard to European politics.
13. Most interesting question for coming years is: what will Syriza do? Tsipras has tried to position Syriza as new PASOK, particularly internationally creating moderate image (to achieve S&D membership?).
14. However, Tsipras might be kept out of PES/S&D by PASOK (KINAL), while Varoufakis might put pressure on him to pivot left (although perhaps only in Greek, not in his improving English). 😉
15. Those were my quick thoughts on #greekelections2019 -- now I'm going to eat (US-style) pita gyros here in NYC. #TheEnd
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