Tsipras Calls General Election

Teachers marching in Athens against cuts in education

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called a general election for June 30 following the heavy defeat in last Sunday’s Euro elections of his SYRIZA (Coalition of the Left) party by the right wing New Democracy party.

SYRIZA got 23%, compared to 33% for New Democracy. Turn-out was about 56%, a low for elections in Greece, spoiled papers were a high 5%, and six other parties got between 1-2%.

Workers, youth and the middle class turned against Tsipras’ SYRIZA, expressing their anger at continued austerity, mass unemployment, cuts in wages and pensions, and the destruction of public health, education and services sections.

Taking into consideration abstention, spoiled papers and the splitting of the total vote to some dozen parties, the New Democracy win is weak but definite.

Tsipras’ austerity policies opened the door to power to New Democracy, whose stated priority is mass sackings in the public sector and services.

SYRIZA also lost heavily in local elections held concurrently with the Euro elections. In all the three major cities, the capital Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, New Democracy candidates are ahead.

It also won the Athens Metropolitan Area election and regional elections in the whole of northern Greece.

The social-democratic KINAL party came third with 8%, followed by the Greek Communist Party at 6% and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party at 4.5%. A new racist right wing party called Greek Solution also got 4.5%. Ex-SYRIZA finance minister Varoufakis’s DiEM25 party got 3.1%.