6th September 2015

Greek elections campaign create new uncertainty

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras resigned shortly after approving the third bailout program for his country, the harshest to date. By negotiating it, he clearly broke all of his promises to end austerity. About a quarter of his SYRIZA MPs left him. The hardliners even separated from the SYRIZA coalition for good. Tsipras had to rely on the opposition to pass the bailout and the first reforms. Snap elections were seen as the only way to ensure a chance of a stable government. However, the ongoing campaign has the exact opposite effect so far. Polls show SYRIZA neck-to-neck with New Democracy, the conservative opposition, both at about 22%. One poll favors the left-wingers and another the opposition. In any case, though, none of the two is likely to govern alone, even though the winner gets a 50 seat premium. In the January elections, SYRIZA came first with 36%, which meant 149 seats in the 300-seat parliament. New Democracy has a coalition potential. The socialists in PASOK are no longer the big party they used to be, but are a pro-EU partner for the conservatives. Also the liberals in To Potami could be partners. SYRIZA, on the other hand, has ruled out forming a coalition with any of the three (New Democracy, PASOK and To Potami). This means it would have to rely on its current junior coalition partner, the nationalistic Independent Greeks. However, they are far from sure of passing the 3% threshold for parliamentary representation. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and the communists are seen as toxic. With the election results unpredictable and after-elections coalition talks likely difficult, the troubled country entered a new period of uncertainty.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic