It’s a Win for Syriza, but is it a Win for Greece?

Greek Election Update

It’s 2am in Athens and results are still coming in. It is clear that Syriza has won a historic victory, but it is, as yet, unclear whether it will achieve an outright majority. The nation that invented drama has not disappointed: estimates put Syriza on 149-151 seats, with 151 seats required for an outright majority. This is going down to the wire.

The unequivocal success of Alexis Tsipras’ party at the polls suggests that, even if he falls one or two seats short of an outright victory, he is likely to go down the coalition route, rather than opting not to do so with the aim of securing an outright majority at a second election. A further factor here is the likelihood that far-right Golden Dawn will be the third placed party – extraordinary not least due to the fact that a number of senior members of this party (including party leader, Michaloliakos) are currently residing in prison. The mechanical process whereby the second and third placed parties are asked to form a coalition if the winning party either cannot, or will not do so, is an eventuality that the Greek political establishment will wish to avoid. This suggests that Syriza will choose to enter into a coalition and that potential coalition partners will be more amenable. After all, Tsipras – given the size of the Syriza vote – has his choice of partners, and the rhetoric has been noticeably toned down by party representatives today, suggesting this is indeed the strategy, as well as making it easier for potential partners to enter into discussions. If he fails to achieve a parliamentary majority, Tsipras will have three days to try to form a coalition. The odds have to be that he will do so. So it looks almost certain that a new government will be formed this time around with Syriza in the driving seat.  Continue reading