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Η πολιτική στον καθρέφτη (Νίκος Β. Ζολοταριώφ)

Η Πολιτική δεν έχει ανάγκη παρά μόνον τον εαυτό της: το πολιτικό επιχείρημα, την αναγνώριση του κοινωνικού-ιστορικού, την αναμέτρηση με τις πραγματικές ευθύνες και τα επίδικα

https://left.gr/news/i-politiki-ston-kathrefti

 

 

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Κατ’ αρχάς Πολιτική, με πι κεφαλαίο και όχι απλώς πολιτική, γιατί βρίσκεται στον αντίποδα της πολεμική σύγκρουσης, γιατί η Πολιτική – όχι ύψιστη τέχνη φύσει πολιτικών όντων – είναι εκείνη η έκφανση της ανθρώπινης κοινωνικότητας που καθορίζει την ίδια την κοινωνικότητα. Με άλλα λόγια η Πολιτική καθορίζει στο φαντασιακό επίπεδο και θεσμίζει τις δομές της κοινωνίας, το πλαίσιο των διεκδικήσεων αλλά και τις διεκδικήσεις καθ’ αυτές, κατευθύνει το κοινωνικό γίγνεσθαι και κατευθύνεται από αυτό μέσα από την ενδεχομενικότητα.

Στη δική μας περίπτωση της τρέχουσας πολιτικής συγκυρίας μπορούμε να διακρίνουμε την παραδοσιακή πολιτική της συστημικής αστικής ελίτ σε αντίθεση προς μια ριζοσπαστική και χειραφετητική Πολιτική. Η μεν πρώτη στοχεύει στη διατήρηση ενός καθεστώτος διαχείρισης και οικονομικών και πολιτικών διευθετήσεων που δεν θίγουν το παραδοσιακό κοινωνικό καθεστώς και το μοίρασμα της εξουσίας και του πλούτου, όπως διαμορφώθηκε στην περίοδο της μεταπολίτευσης, παρά τις τεκτονικές αλλαγές που έχουν συμβεί. Η δεύτερη, επιδιώκει να αναδιατάξει το πολιτικό σύστημα και να προωθήσει έναν δημοκρατικό μετασχηματισμό μέσα από τον οποίο και η ίδια θα καταστεί συστημική, αλλά μέσα σε ένα καινούριο πολιτικό σύστημα.

Βασικό χαρακτηριστικό αυτής της προσπάθειας είναι μια Πολιτική που αν και δεν αρνείται τα γεγονότα (οικονομική κρίση, μνημόνιο, παγκοσμιοποίηση, νεοφιλελευθερισμός κλπ.), θέτει ως στρατηγικό στόχο τη δημοκρατική ανασυγκρότηση της κοινωνίας με ξεκάθαρο πρόσημο υπέρ του κόσμου της εργασίας. Επαναφέρει δηλαδή το ταξικό στοιχείο, το οποίο είναι εξ ορισμού διεθνιστικό, ως τη βασική διαιρετική τομή στο πολιτικό σύστημα. Στον αντίποδα, η ελληνική παραδοσιακή πολιτική ελίτ, παραμένει αγκιστρωμένη στο εθνικό πλαίσιο. Το μόνο διεθνιστικό που μπορεί να αναγνωρίσει είναι το σύγχρονο πολυεθνικό κεφάλαιο, δηλώνοντας την υποταγή της σε κάθε ευκαιρία και στοχεύοντας απλώς στο να ανακαταλάβει την κυβερνητική εξουσία.

Είναι λογικό επακόλουθο, κάθε προσπάθεια εξόδου από αυτό το πλαίσιο να τη βρίσκει απολύτως απέναντι. Είτε πρόκειται για τις μνημονιακές μεταρρυθμίσεις και την ακραία λιτότητα, είτε για τη διεθνή θέση της Ελλάδας και τη συμφωνία των Πρεσπών, η παραδοσιακή πολιτική ελίτ συσπειρώνεται και λειτουργεί ως μονήρης οργανισμός. Ακόμη χειρότερα, αρνείται τα γεγονότα και είναι διατεθειμένη να υποκύψει σε συνειδητά ψέματα, στην προσπάθειά της να αντιπαρατεθεί με την πραγματικότητα. Απόληξη της πολιτικής δεν είναι απλώς ο εθνικιστικός λόγος. Η εθνική πολιτική ελίτ, είναι ανίκανη να σταθεί στο διεθνές πλαίσιο ακριβώς επειδή έμεινε προσκολλημένη στη νομή της εξουσίας όπως αυτή θεσμίστηκε από το Β’ παγκόσμιο πόλεμο και μετά. Για αυτό επέλεγε πάντα το ρόλο του διεθνούς κομπάρσου και παρατρεχάμενου, δεν επιδίωξε το ρόλο του ισότιμου εταίρου και προτίμησε να αποκλείει επί δεκαετίες τους πολιτικούς της αντιπάλους, να χρεωκοπήσει την οικονομία και να διαλύσει τον κοινωνικό ιστό, κατασκευάζοντας ενίοτε φανταστικούς (και σε κάθε περίπτωση ανίσχυρους) εχθρούς.

Η πολιτική βλέπει το είδωλό της στον καθρέφτη και αναγνωρίζει το τέρας που δημιούργησε, παρά τα πρόχειρα και παράλογα φτιασίδια με τα οποία παρουσιάζεται στο μιντιακό της σύστημα. Αντίθετα η Πολιτική δεν έχει ανάγκη παρά μόνον τον εαυτό της: το πολιτικό επιχείρημα, την αναγνώριση του κοινωνικού-ιστορικού, την αναμέτρηση με τις πραγματικές ευθύνες και τα επίδικα. Σε αυτή την πορεία του πολιτικού υποκειμένου, σε αυτό τον αγώνα για την κατίσχυση της Πολιτικής, μόνο η δημοκρατική πολιτική στάση και η κριτική προσέγγιση δεν αρκούν. Για την ελευθερία και την κοινωνική δικαιοσύνη, για την ανάκτηση των εργατικών δικαιωμάτων και την προστασία των πιο αδύναμων απαιτείται, νομοτελειακά, η πολιτική εξουσία – όχι ως αυτοσκοπός, βέβαια – όχι χωρίς παραχωρήσεις και σίγουρα χωρίς τα βαρίδια που επιδιώκουν κυρίως την αυτοπραγμάτωσή τους. Γιατί, εάν υπάρχει ένα ζήτημα πραγμάτωσης, αυτό αφορά τα προτάγματα του κόσμου της εργασίας.
*Ο Νίκος Β. Ζολοταριώφ είναι μέλος της ΟΜ ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Μαραθώνα και προϊστάμενος του Ιδιαίτερου Γραφείου του Γ.Γ. Συντονισμού του Κυβερνητικού Έργου

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1974 Κόμματα Αρχηγοί Ψήφοι Έδρες

1974 Κόμματα Αρχηγοί Ψήφοι Έδρες
Αριθμός % +− % Αριθμός +−
Νέα Δημοκρατία
Κωνσταντίνος Καραμανλής
2.669.133 54,37 – 220 –
Ένωσις Κέντρου-Νέες Δυνάμεις (Ε.Κ.-Ν.Δ.)
Γεώργιος Μαύρος
1.002.559 20,42 -32,3% 60 -111
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα (ΠΑΣΟΚ)
Ανδρέας Παπανδρέου
666.413 13,58 – 12 –
Ενωμένη Αριστερά (Ε.Α.)
Ηλίας Ηλιού
464.787 9,47 – 8 –
Εθνική Δημοκρατική Ένωσις (Ε.Δ.Ε.)
Πέτρος Γαρουφαλιάς
52.768 1,08 – 0 –
Δημοκρατική Ένωση Κέντρου (Δ.Ε.Κ.)
Ιωάννης Ζίγδης
8.509 0,17 – 0 –
Επαναστατικό Κομμουνιστικό Κίνημα Ελλάδας (ΕΚΚΕ)
1.539 0,03 – 0 –
Φιλελεύθερη Δημοκρατική Ένωση – Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα Ελλάδας (ΦΔΕ-ΣΚΕ)
975 0,02 – 0 –
Ανεξάρτητοι υποψήφιοι 21.378 0,44 – – –
Έγκυρες ψήφοι 4.908.974 100,00 300
Άκυρα και λευκά 54.584
Σύνολο 4.963.558
• Τα αποτελέσματα της Ένωσις Κέντρου – Νέες Δυνάμεις, συγκρίνονται με τα αποτελέσματα της Ένωσις Κέντρου για τις βουλευτικές εκλογές του 1964.

 

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ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ: ΕΛΛΑΔΑ ΤΟΠΟΣ ΥΠΟΔΟΧΗΣ ΠΛΗΘΥΣΜΩΝ1830-1989

 

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Kύκλος διαλέξεων στη θεματική ενότητα «Το παρελθόν στο παρόν: διεπιστημονικές προσεγγίσεις»

Το Πρόγραμμα Μεταπτυχιακών Σπουδών «Νεότερος και Σύγχρονος Κόσμος: Ιστορία, Λαογραφία, Ανθρωπολογία» του Τμήματος Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας του Πανεπιστημίου Ιωαννίνων, διοργανώνει για το χειμερινό εξάμηνο 2018-2019 κύκλο διαλέξεων στη θεματική ενότητα «Το παρελθόν στο παρόν: διεπιστημονικές προσεγγίσεις».44121648_10157126998334903_8977978921484025856_n

[Photo: Aïda Muluneh, «The Departure», 2016]

 

 

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Οι διαλέξεις πραγματοποιούνται στην αίθουσα συνεδριάσεων του Τομέα Ιστορίας Νεότερων Χρόνων, κτήριο Φιλοσοφικής (α΄ όροφος), στις 18.00, και είναι ανοιχτές και στο ευρύ κοινό.

Για τον Ernesto Laclau (του Θανάση Τσακίρη, 1996)

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«Is the Greek party system changing ?»- By Athanasios Tsakiris

Is the Greek party system changing ?

By Athanasios Tsakiris

αρχείο λήψης (6)

 

1. Introduction
This article explores the way that the Greek political party system changed during the period of the economic and social crisis that struck the country.
Political parties are essential components of modern parliamentary democracy. They articulate the bulk of concerns and demands in the society without which Politics would be dominated by special interests. Moreover, parties recruit and socialize future political leaders. Party members play an important role in the communication between leaders and voters. They mobilize voters during election campaigns. Parties also contribute to policy formulation, ensuring the entry of new ideas to the policy agenda. In other words, parties mobilize citizens behind specific visions of society as well as through their performance in the legislature and offer citizens significant choices in governance, opportunities for political participation, and possibilities to shape their society’s future.
“A political party comes into existence within a specific social and technological context that may evolve over time, and this ‘founding context’ can leave a lasting imprint on the basic nature of the party’s organization for decades to come. Parties are channels of intermediation between political elites and voters, and a particular organizational type ability to mobilize voters effectively is highly contingent upon that context.” (Gunther and Diamond 2003).
Political parties engage in representation relations arising for historical reasons and are reproduced in conditions of social and political competition. Without demands for social interest representation at the political level there can be no political parties. A party is a complex collective entity, formed by social forces with a loose or fixed ideology, with intellectuals who perform the function of the merger of these forces with ideology which is a historical process. (Gramsci 1971)
Within each country’s political system there are “party systems”. A party system is the “system of interactions resulting from inter-party competition”. (Sartori 1976), Most party systems are outcomes of the application of electoral laws. In parliamentary democracies, the most frequent electoral systems are versions of either of majoritarian or plurality systems. Thus, the classification of party systems is as follows:
• Two-party system: two major political parties dominate and govern almost alternately.
• Multi-party system: multiple political parties have the ability to run the government separately or in coalition.
• Third-party system: only three parties have a genuine opportunity of winning an election or forming a governing coalition.
We can also speak of a Stalled Third-party system that is the case where three parties receive large numbers of votes, but only two can win a general election.

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2. The party system of the post-dictatorship era
The 24th of July 1974 signifies the beginning of a series of developments in the Greek political system and the Greek society. These developments led to the normalization and stabilization of the liberal democratic regime. The country would experience and enjoy more democracy than ever, normal alternations in government, as well as more economic and social progress. However, the 3rd Greek Republic after the referendum that decided the end of monarchy displays some special features rooted in the transition process to democracy.
On 24 July 1974, Constantine Karamanlis accepted to form the “National Unity Government” -essentially a bipartisan government-, to restore representative parliamentary democracy and to lead the country to free multiparty elections. After a series of actions which forced the military to return to their barracks and stop intervening in politics, the Government proceeded rapidly in declaring the holding of general elections and the legalization of all political parties including communist parties and organizations.
The elections of November 17, 1974 were elections held under these special circumstances using the reinforced proportional voting system which was adopted by the government before the elections (Clogg 1987). Old and new parties contested the election. New Democracy was the new right-wing party founded by C. Karamanlis who dissolved the pre-dictatorship political party ERE (National Radical Union) planning to create a principled mass conservative party. Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), i.e. the resistance against the dictatorship organization founded by Andreas Papandreou, and the centre-left resistance organization, Democratic Defence created PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) that initially aimed at the socialist transformation of Greek society using democratic parliamentary means. This radical belief of change and transformation was diffuse in wide sections of the Greek society that felt suffocating socially, economically and politically, even though it was not expressed in the first election because of the desire for a smooth transition to democracy. Voters who did not wish to vote New Democracy and were reluctant to vote Left brought out Centre Union -New Forces to the role of official opposition. The traditional Left parties joined forces and ran under the name “United Left” composing of the legalized Communist parties and pre-dictatorship EDA (Unitary Democratic Left). New Democracy triumphed receiving 54.37% of the votes and the absolute majority of 220 seats. Centre Union -New Forces received 20,42% of the votes and 60 seats, PASOK with 13.58% of the votes received 12 seats and the United Left with 9,47% received 8 seats.
The strong government of New Democracy passed the new constitution despite the protests expressed by all the opposition parties. Normally the next elections were to be conducted in November 1978. From September 1977, Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis decided the acceleration of the elections. The reasons put forward by the Prime Minister to speed up the elections were the so-called “national issues”: conflict with Turkey on the problem of Cyprus and the accession to the European Communities. The government sought a fresh popular mandate avoiding a prolonged pre-election campaign period. Andreas Papandreou felt confident about the dynamics of PASOK after having overcome the various internal crises and expelled the dissidents who then formed the Alliance of Left and Progressive Forces together ςιτη political parties among which Communist Party of Greece (interior) was the larger and better organized. United Left had been broken up following the 1974 election and KKE built its legal, independent political organization seeking to dominate the communist milieu of the country. The election was held on the 20th of November 1977. New Democracy lost ground among right-wing hard liners and nationalists due to the handling of issues such as monarchy and Cyprus conflict. The latter formed a new party called National Alignment (Ethniki Parataxis). Nevertheless, New Democracy received 41.84% of the votes and 171 seats and formed an independent government. PASOK received 25.34% and with 93 seats became the new official opposition defeating the previous one now called Democratic Centre Union (EDIK) which received 11.95% and 16 seats entering an open crisis that led to the annihilation of the party. KKE won the intraleft rivalry received the lion’s share of the left vote (9.36% and 11 seats). The Alliance received 2.72% of the votes and 2 seats. Last but least the Party of Neoliberals headed by Costas Mitsotakis received 1.08% of the votes and 2 seat. The radical change of the political and party systems was taking-off.
These developments were speeded up with the aid of the main social movements that had been blossoming since the regime chance, i.e. labour and student movements. The autonomous movement of factory workers from 1974 to 1977 and the bank workers and public utilities unions from 1976 to 1981 contributed to the radicalizing of wide segments of the working class through prolonged strikes and protest (Koumandaraki 1995; Ioannou 2000; Tsakiris 2006; Papadogiannis 2011). The student movement rose against the passage and implementation of Law 815/78 concerning the universities. In order to avoid a social turmoil and a worker-student uprising the prime minister C. Karamanlis on the 4th of January 1980 declared the law inactive (Papadogiannis 2015). Furthermore, Karamanlis was elected President of the Republic by the Parliament in 1980. The majority was composed of the MPs of New Democracy, National Alignment, and Party of Neoliberals who were given government posts.
In the internal elections of the New Democracy to appoint a new leader of the party and Prime Minister Georgios Rallis defeated Evangelos Averoff. The former was minister of Education and has been a member of all ERE governments. The latter was the hardliner right-winger was Minister of Defence from 1974 to 1981.
The start of the second energy crisis had much worse results than the first leading to new rises of inflation and unemployment rates. Long and medium term unemployment affect the young people, women, and older workers who are fired and it is difficult for them to be retrained. Moreover, for the first time during the postwar period degree holder unemployment rises sharply especially in “positive” science, i.e. civil engineering (Fakiolas 1982).The new government under Prime Minister George Rallis (1980-1981) tried to somehow reverse the situation limited both by the results of developments in the international economic environment (slowing of global economy, membership in the EEC) and the social pressures exerted on the working classes and strata by the consequences of the restrictive policies implemented during the previous years.
Even though Rallis had been Karamanlis’s right-hand man throughout the post-civil war decades having drawn up electoral laws favouring each time Karamanlis’s aims this time he managed to finish the government’s constitutional term of office without resorting to early elections something very frequent in Greek political history. His term went up to smoke. On the 18th of October 1981, the Greek people decided to vote in favour of the so much desired “Change” that PASOK and Andreas Papandreou were promising.
PASOK received 48.07% of the votes and captured 172 seats. New Democracy with 35.87% of the votes captured 115 seats and the Communist Party (KKE) with 10.93% 13 seats. All other parties failed to elect any seat. The party system was now stabilized. It had become a “Stalled Third-party system” since KKE due to electoral law was devoid of the possibility to play the role of a “blackmail” party; in other words, KKE cannot influence electoral competition either by its inclusion in a viable governing coalition or by threatening to bring down the government (Satori 2005).
Simultaneously with the national legislative elections of October 18, 1981 elections were held for the selection of Greek representatives to the European Parliament the then EEC (European Economic Community). These were called second-order elections in the sense that they were considered less important by the voters, parties, and the media, compared with national first class elections. They are usually determined more by the domestic political cleavages than by alternatives originating in the EEC/EU (Karl Heinz and Hermann 1980). Often turnout is expected to be lower than in national elections. The voters use second-order elections in order to vote for protest party or marginal groups and not in favour of the mainstream parties which they vote in national elections. Thus, second-order elections are often used by the voters to punish the governing parties. PASOK received 40,12% and 10 seats, New Democracy with 31,34% and 8 seats. The voters strengthened the parties of the communist Left: ΚΚΕ receives 12,84 and 3 seats, ΚΚΕ-interior receives 5.30% and 1 seat. The centre-left pro-EEC Party of Democratic Socialism (KODISO) receives 4,26% and 1 seat. Far-right Party of Progressives received 1,96% and 1 seat. The other voters voted for various small centre-right and far-right political parties and groups.
PASOK in government lift injustices done by the ruling political elites to segments of the population during the past decades establishing the rule of law as well as a welfare state based on the rule of law and human rights. This strategy was sine qua non condition in order to incorporate the excluded masses in the system. But Its initial strategic goals were to cease the exploitation of man by man and to achieve human liberation were gradually changed between 1977 and 1981. New goals were now the “narrowing of the gap between different income groups’’, and the “generating of a self-supporting national development” in order to reduce the “uneven distribution of income” by overcoming “the peripheral development” of the country (Spourdalakis 1986). PASOK was not any more the radical left movement of the 1970s (Close 2002). After its defeat in the elections of 1981 New Democracy retreated to an anti-communist and reactionary discourse in order to maintain the party’s unity on traditional right-wing lines. Rallis resigned from his post of president. The party’s parliamentary group selected Evangelos Averoff as New Democracy’s leader (Diamandouros and Gunther 2001).
Οn the left side of the political spectrum the communist movement seems to have lost its attractiveness. KKE could not justify the policies of the Soviet Union and of the COMECON (military invasion in Afghanistan, coup in Poland and outlawing of Solidarity labour union, violations of human rights etc.). Moreover, PASOK’s policy to satisfy of long-standing demands of the Left and all progressive and modernizing forces of the country (recognition of the national resistance between 1941-1944, granting pension and benefits to resistance fighters, changes in family law and especially the abolition of the legal requirement of dowry (Halkias 2004). The renewing and radical left organizations were entering a decade of crisis. Many members left the party and created theoretical journals, political periodicals and social movement organizations (human rights, ecological groups etc.). Those members who remained in the party split into two main factions led by Leonidas Kyrkos (favoured the transformation of the party) and Yannis Banias (favoured the upgrade of the party’s communist identity).
The party system would display its stability in the next European (1984) and national (1985) elections. In the European Elections PASOK gained 41.58% of the votes and 10 seats but New Democracy bounced back gaining 38.05% (6.71% higher than 1981) and 9 seats (1 more than 1981). KKE gained 11.64% (reduction by 1.20%) and 3 seats. Even pro-EEC KKE interior underwent severe loss gaining only 3.42% (reduction by 1.88%) and 1 seat. Far right National Political Union gained 2.29% and 1 seat. Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party of Greece (EKKE) gained 0.30% and Fighting Socialist Party (ASKE) 0.18%. Cumulatively four centrist parties gained 1.78% of the votes.

 

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3. The establishment of the cartel party system

In the 1985 national elections PASOK verified its hegemony on the political system by gaining 45.82% of the votes and 161 seats. Leader of New Democracy was now Costas Mitsotakis and its neoliberal program contained demands for abolition of taxes and liberalization of the economy. New Democracy received 40.85% of the votes and 126 seats. Cumulatively the two main parties receive 86.67%. All the other political parties were squeezed electorally. KKE gained 9.89% of the votes and 12 seats. KKE interior gained 1.84% of the votes and 1 seat. Newcomer in the Greek elections is “Trust/Destiny” (0.18%), a party representing Muslim citizens from the Thracian prefectures of Xanthi and Rodolph.
In the autumn of 1985 the government of PASOK to reverse its economic policy implementing austerity measures in wages and incomes. PASOK’s rank-and-file experience a turmoil that would lead to resignations and expulsions mainly effecting its working class organizations. The party’s machine is turned into an entryway for appointment to public sector jobs creating a system of “bureaucratic clientelism” replacing the traditional individual patron-client (Lyrintzis 1984). This system was adopted by New Democracy.
The party system that the elections of 1985 established would last for the next 27 years; a cartel party system was created (Looms 2013). Electoral laws favour the established parties for the sake of governability leading to disproportional systems. Cumulatively these parties gain more than 90% of the seats. Moreover, since 1993 there is an electoral threshold which a political party must pass in order to secure its representation in the parliament. Supposedly the 3% electoral threshold aims at secure the exclusion of ethnic and religious minority groups promoting independently a minority-related agenda, especially the Muslim parties from the region of Thrace. In effect the threshold prevented new parties or individual candidates from entering the parliament that could threaten the established parties’ domination upon the political system. The cartel party is more «capital-intensive” rather than» labour intensive «, i.e. voluntary work of the members gives way to centralized-professional activity of party managers whose salaries are secured either through public funding or through the process of detachment from organic positions of the public sector. The cartel parties use the mass media in order to contact the «ordinary citizen» and, consequently, they separate the leaders from the base of party organization. The advertising campaigns are based more on form than on content in response to the demands of the media logic – particularly of electronic mass media. The prevalence of cartel party does not mean inevitable elimination of previous party types. The concept of the party type is a Weberian «ideal type» that defines the main characteristics that dominate a whole. The difference has to do with the political objectives and the basis of party competition. In the cartel party era, the political objectives refer to «I», policy making has become a technocratic profession and party competition is developed on the basis of the demand for effective and efficient state management. (Katz and Mair 1995)
“Intergroup collusion” is a crucial precondition for the survival of the party personnel within the state and combined with manageristic logic for political intervention create dilemmas for mainstream parties concerning the electoral law and the institutional regulatory framework in which electoral competition is held. PASOK is the par excellence cartel in Greece between 1985 to 2012 (Spourdalakis 1996).
As the dominant party, all this period PASOK was often the battlefield for its two internal tendencies, that is the modernisers and traditional social democrats. Following the death of Andreas Papandreou the modernizers represented by Costas Simitis who became both prime minister and president of the party. The new PASOK accepted the concepts of globalization and market liberalisation and intended to create a new economy, a more flexible state and labor relations.
4. SYRIZA and the dismantle of cartel party system
The cartel party system is not created from scratch from day to another. Neither are the principles and programmatic orientations of the parties abolished nor are their social class bases radically changed under normal conditions. For example, PASOK in terms of political sociology evolved as a cadre -elite party in 1974 and following the call by Andreas Papandreou for self-organizing it was rapidly transformed into a mass party that gathered popular strata and particularly those who were still under the strong influence of the tradition and memories of national antinazi resistance movement (1940-44) with orientations to socialism different than social democracy and “really existent socialism”. The party’s members were social movement activists especially active in the factory worker trade union movement that promoted the idea of “autogestion” (self-management). From 1977 to 1981 PASOK became a “catch-all” party addressing not only the workers but the “people” (small and middle bourgeoisie) against the “establishment” promoting a “welfare state” and promised the exit of Greece from NATO and the EEC. When PASOK rose to government it gave way the program aiming managing and modernizing the (capitalist) state. (Spourdalakis, M. (1988). The subsequent reforms were largely consistent with the needs of Greek capitalism. Party structures were adjusted to the needs of the state bureaucracy. The transformation of PASOK was not so smooth. The leadership of the party launched an internal “war” against dissenters in order to neutralize the remaining labor rank and file by either expelling them from the organization or integrating into the bureaucratic apparatus (Eleftheriou and Tassis 2013). Although PASOK had been transformed to the “party of the state” its electoral base was mainly coming from the working class and the lower social strata (Vernardakis 2011; Vernardakis 2014)

The “Coalition of Radical Left” was the fatal factor for the party system’s collapse. A radical party would fuel the reorganization and the realignment of the system. The prospect of the Left is to combine accomplishments in the present, without conceding the political vision of building a different society. Radical left parties accept democracy although they combine this with aspirations towards direct democracy, including incorporating the rights of the excluded and marginalized in the political system (March 2012). For these parties, anti-capitalism does not mean planned economy but opposition to “neo-liberal” globalized capitalism (Rubel and Crump 1987).

SYRIZA was created as an electoral vehicle for participation in the elections in March 2004. Its founding members were political parties and organizations covering a wide range of radical left tendencies (Eurocommunists, gauchistes, Maoists, internationalists, Trotskyites, left socialists, ecologists, feminists etc.). By far larger among them was the “Coalition of Left, Ecology and Movement” (Synaspismos tis Aristeras, tis Oikologias and ton Kinimaton, aka Synaspismos). Among the rest of SYRIZA’s constituent groups (“synistoses”) there were some with hundreds of members and weekly circulated newspapers, such left Eurocommunist AKOA (Renewing Communist Ecological Left), Maoist Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), Labour Internationalist Left (DEA) and others (Petrou 2012). Since its foundation, Synaspismos was the product of an essential contradiction: the evolution of a purely electoral alliance and combination of two different left political traditions. Beyond the obvious ideological differences and the diverse political intervention culture of the two founding currents were a commonplace, the development of a strong centre and an inert mass organization. For the first time after the fall of the dictatorship (Marioulias 2011) so many left political groups advocate a unitary approach overcoming past ideological biases and so many unaffiliated leftists choose to join the party (Kouvelakis 2011). The “founding context” of SYRIZA, as we will later on discuss, has left its lasting imprint on the strategic and organizational decisions taken in crucial times especially between 2012 and 2015 when the party was on the rise as official opposition and then the major government partner.
In 2004 there two crucial elections were held. First, on March 7, early national parliamentary elections held. “New Democracy” overthrew the 11-year uninterrupted domination of the PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) governments. SYRIZA’s debut was not especially encouraging (3.26%), nevertheless it was the stepping stone for a further advance for exploiting existing or/and creating new political opportunities. On the 13th on June European parliamentary elections were held verifying the new correlation of forces and the political domination of the center-right in the Greek political system. SYRIZA experienced its first split due to the independent electoral intervention of the Women for an Another Europe. Synaspismos ran for the European elections on its own without using SYRIZA’s name. Synaspismos lost 1 of its seats in the European election. Women for an Another Europe and the new founded environmental party Ecologists-Greens benefited from Synaspismos’s lost votes. This defeat mobilized the party’s rank-and-file and the various left-wing tendencies who voted for Alekos Alavanos as President in the extraordinary party conference that was held in the following winter. Under his leadership the party members undertook a more active role in the social movements, especially in issues of antiracism, anti-war, education, ecological, anti-globalization etc. Moreover, the developments in the European Left were somehow promising for the reorganization of the existing radical parties as well as the creation of new ones (Hudson 2000). Synaspismos’s youth organization was the most active radical sector of the party having participated in the Prague (2000) and Genoa (2001) anti-globalization demonstrations where thousand Greek activists travelled to and participated in. The same pattern was followed in December 2001 in Brussels as well as in similar demonstrations in Athens and Thessaloniki in the spring and summer of 2003 during the Greek presidency of EU. This international practice offered the opportunity for the Greek activists to put some of their tactics into a new perspective. This was a significant learning process for the youth organization members who consorted with peers from other left organizations with whom they would fight together a few years later in the movement against the abolition of Article 16 of the Constitution that prohibits private universities. This mass movement achieved to split PASOK as its youth and student organizations revolted against the stance taken by the leadership who agreed with the government of New Democracy to abolish the article from the Constitution. George Papandreou in order to avoid a generalization of the revolt all over the party decided to cease the debate on the issue. Therefore, a majority of votes for passing the abolition was impossible to exist. The movement had won. Synaspismos and SYRIZA had learned that “nothing is impossible” (Giovanopoulos and Dalakoglou 2011). Another significant landmark towards SYRIZA’s successful restart was the 4th European Social Forum the works of which were held in Athens in the spring of 2006. The same year Alekos Alavanos proposed Alexis Tsipras as candidate for mayor of Athens. The proposal met opposition from members of Synaspismos who supported the candidacy of Michael Papayannakis, who was prominent member and former European MP. The Political Bureau decided by a majority vote to support the candidacy of Tsipras in the municipal elections of October 2006. He received 28, 964 votes (10.5%) occupying third place, behind Nikitas Kaklamanis (New Democracy) and Kostas Skandalidis (PASOK) in front of Spyros Halvatzis of KKE. The party gained a total of 4 seats in the city council. This move proved to be most crucial one among those Alekos Alavanos throughout his term as president of Synaspismos because the party was achieving the goals of challenging the party system and forging a radical left identity. Together with the class struggle issue radical left is involved in green, feminist, anti-racist and anti-war mobilizations and campaigns. Moreover, it develops anti-capitalist, anti-globalization movements (Hudson 2012). The first signs of success came with the early elections of 2007 (Gemenis 2008). SYRIZA gained 5.04% of the votes and 14 seats (8 seats more than 2004.) A “left breeze” blew above the Parliament. All the parties of the left gained increased their votes. KKE received 8.15% of the votes and 22 seats (10 more than 2004). Ecologists-Greens received 1.02% of the votes. Even the extra parliamentary left parties cumulatively gained 0.75% of the votes. The main parties lost about 6% and New Democracy only grace to the electoral law could form an independent government. There are increases in blank and null votes. Abstention from voting increased by 2%. New Democracy faced the threat from the far right since the party LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) gained 3.8% of the votes and 10 seats. Following the 2007 elections, the 5th conference of Synaspismos elected Alexis Tsipras as its new president. At the age of 33, Tsipras became the youngest political party leader in the Greek history. Alekos Alavanos remained chairman of the parliamentary group of SYRIZA. The new parliamentary group chose to challenge both the government policy and PASOK opposition taking a more radical and vocal stance carrying and representing the social movements’ demands in the parliament. Moreover, its political proposals aimed at involving the citizens to more participative democratic procedures, such as referendums, general assemblies etc. A good example is the proposal for a referendum on the issue of social security. Polls reveal that SYRISA and Alexis Tsipras are here to stay. 31% of the responders say that SYRIZA is the best party of the opposition and Tsipras’s popularity skyrockets to 53%.
SYRIZA supported young people’s uprising. The 15-year-old high school student Alexis Grigoropoulos was murdered by a special guard of Police the night of December 6, 2008. The incident was enough to provoke fierce protests. A new «cycle of protest» had been opened and social movements intensified their activities in the midst of the socio-economic and social crisis. The fact that SYRIZA was the only parliamentary party to support the uprising was the reason for the acute criticism launched against Tsipras and SYRIZA from the whole party system stating that the latter flirts with violence and with terrorism (Stavrakakis and Katsambekis 2014). There were also critical voices from within Synaspismos stating that the party must “condemn violence from wherever it comes” undermining the party’s decision to recognize the events as uprising.
Day after day the main political parties that have governed the country were losing the confidence of citizens. The first victim is New Democracy. The first signs indicating the change is a steady rise of PASOK of the polls. The striking feature is that 3rd position is occupied by SYRIZA who actively participates in demonstrations and other radical forms of protest. The second sign shows that the balance of power is changing and is becoming increasingly difficult for New Democracy to return to earlier periods of dominance since the majority of the citizens believe that «things in Greece are going to the wrong direction».
New elections were held early, after the sudden dissolution of Parliament and the issuing of Presidential Decree 127/2009 on October 4. The prime minister Costas Karamanlis cited the following reasons for his decision. First, the plight of the Greek economy due to the global financial crisis of 2008. Even more importantly, he used the refusal of PASOK to cooperate in the election of the President of the Republic. The elections were conducted implementing the latest election law N.3231/2004, under which the first party is primed with 40 seats. The result was a victory for the PASOK, and personally for George Papandreou. PASOK gained 43.92% of the votes and 160 seats and the party formed an independent government for the last time in its exciting historical course. New Democracy was defeated heavily having gained only 33.47% of the votes and 91 seats. A portion of New Democracy’s lost votes went to the far right LAOS that gained 5.63% of the votes and 15 seats. The left wing parties lost votes since PASOK’s electoral advance functioned as “bandwagon effect”. KKE gained 7.54% of the votes and 21 seats while SYRIZA gained 4.60% and 13 seats. The Stalled Third-party system seems to be trembling. The signs are more clean. Abstaining went up to 29.05%. Voters started dispersing votes to small and tiny political parties and groups. Ecologists-Greens gained 2.52% of the votes and the extra parliamentary left parties cumulatively gained 0.68% (Dinas 2010).
PASOK’s third chance prove to be fatal for the party and the system. For one more time the socialists with a member of the Papandreou “political dynasty” as prime minister. In an era of “reduced expectations” PASOK’ s voters hoped that the new government would at least restore their incomes that were cut back due to the right-wing government’s incomes policy combined with the steady rise of inflation. PASOK’s election campaign was dominated by the slogan “money exists” referring to New Democracy’s government assertion that the country should enter an era of austerity politics due to financial harshness. The political, economic and social developments that followed disturbed PASOK’s governmental image. Aiming at facing the crisis, the government invited the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the political support of the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB), to solve the debt problem. The result was that the Troika (committee with representatives of IMF, EU, and ECB) agreed to lend the Greek government under burdensome terms through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. The labour movement reacted to the establishment of Troika and government policy even though the majority of the leadership of main trade unions were friendly to the governing party. General strikes, mass demonstrations and bloody riots signed the end of an era of social dialogue. These struggles were not victorious and the municipal and regional elections in October 2010 gave an opportunity to the voters to express their dissatisfaction with the party system. During the spring of 2011 the movement started expanding responding to new challenges arising due to the government’s policies in an increasing number of issues. The strategy of civil disobedience that the movements used was successful (Tsakiris and Aranitou 2012; Sotiris 2014). The Greek Indignados who occupied the Constitution Square as well as squares of many Greek cities from May 25 to mid-July forced the prime minister to reshuffle the cabinet in effort to appease the participants in the occupations and the members of the trade unions; besides, a large portion of the participants were long-time voters of PASOK. The reshuffle proved to be unsuccessful since austerity policy remained the same.
In this time Synaspismos and SYRIZA selected to play the role of representative of the class and social struggles and demands to the political institutions. Established a rhetoric full of sharp “us versus them” polarities. “The ‘us’ part was conceptualized as those losing and being marginalized by the process of neoliberal globalization and deregulation (productive forces, youth, precarious, unemployed, etc.) and the “them” part as those few “winners” (Katsambekis 2015). Within Synaspismos, two distinct strategies developed. The first was articulated by the modernizing faction of the party, which, under the leadership of Fotis Kouvelis, left the party to form the new party called “Democratic Left (DIMAR). The key element of its strategy was participation in governing institutions at all costs. Being very close to the ideas of PASOK’s modernizers, this faction saw itself as “the responsible Left,” a claim which became a self-fulfilling prophecy with their participation in Samaras’ coalition government with ND and PASOK, after the 2012 national elections. The other strategy that was developed within Synaspismos and other independent leftist organizations and individuals had to do with the strategy that led to active presence in the social field. Although it was the outcome of planning and necessary for survival, this became more politically effective given the social conditions created by the austerity policies the government chose to respond to the crisis (Eleftheriou, Spourdalakis, and Tsakiris 2013).
In October new general strikes and demonstrations forced George Papandreou to announce to the troika that the government would hold a referendum asking the Greek people to decide whether they approve the new European bail-out scheme for Greece. The reactions of the EU governments were negative for Papandreou’s move. New Democracy, LAOS and a group of PASOK’s MPs “revolted” against Papandreou forcing him to resign. A coalition technocratic government was formed by these three parties appointing Lukas Papadimos, former Member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank. On the 19th of February 2012 a huge protest demonstration against austerity policies in front of the Parliament was crushed by the riot police. Hundreds of citizens were beaten, arrested and injured; petrol bombs destroyed some of significant buildings of Athens. The political crisis reached its apogee. Early election was called for 6th of May 2012 (Lyrintzis 2011; Tassis 2015).
The early elections’ results verified the end of the “Metapolitefsi (Kompsopoulos and Chasoglou 2014). The massive demonstrations, marches and occupations against the implementation of austerity policies that convulsed the cities of Greece during the last two years showed that an autonomous social protest movement emerged independently of political parties and traditional bureaucratic trade unions. The Greek “indignados” contributed to the final collapse of the party system. Social unrest was diffused throughout the “left-right” political spectrum casing the emergence of both far-right and radical left political organizations (Teperoglou and Tsatsanis 2014).
On the far-right side of the spectrum, neo-nazist “Golden Dawn” took advantage of the racist and xenophobic attitudes of people who could not attribute the acute crisis and its consequences to the policies and operations of the capitalist class system, thus blaming the victims (immigrants) for their lower social ranking. “Golden Dawn” received 6.97% and 21 seats outflanked LAOS that gained only 2.90% of the votes and no seats at all.
On the left side, the changes were even more exciting. SYRIZA playing the anti-memorandum card received 16.78% and 52 seats outflanking KKE that received 8.48% and 26 seats. In 2012 SYRIZA is an expanded coalition that includes left-wing social democrats, who since 2009 abandoned PASOK. SYRIZA conquered the second place in voters’ preference aiming at creating a viable government with the Left as its lynchpin. Democratic Left with 6.11% and 19 seats entered the parliament. Ecologists Greens received 2.93% remain outside the parliament. In these elections, the parties and groups of the far left achieved their best performance ever. ANTARSYA (Anti-capitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow) received 1,19% of the votes, Den Plirono Movement (Can’t Pay, Don’t Pay) 0,83% and other Maoist and Trotskyist groups cumulatively 0.37%.
For the previously dominant parties the situation is complicated. PASOK received 13.18% of the votes and 41 seats experienced the heaviest defeat since 1974. New Democracy, under the leadership of Antonios Samaras also experienced its heaviest defeat gaining 18.85% and 108 seats but it occupied the first place. Independent Greeks led by Panos Kammenos, a long-time cadre and MP of New Democracy, who formed his party against Samaras’s pro-memorandum policy gained 10.60% and 33 seats. Dora Bakoyianni, also a former MP New Democracy who formed a pro-memorandum party called Democratic Alliance which gained 2.55% failing to pass the threshold and remained outside parliament. Two more centre and right parties failed to pass the threshold: Action-Liberal Alliance with 1.80% and Creation Again with 2.15%. Many small and tiny parties gained cumulatively 3.11%. The party system was pulverized (Sotiropoulos 2014).
A caretaker government under the prime ministership of Panagiotis Pikrammenos was established because government formation was not possible to have the confidence of parliament. New elections were called for June 17.
In the elections of June New Democracy came first gaining 29.66% of the votes and 129 seats. New Democracy absorbed Democratic Alliance and groups of members and MPs of Independent Greeks. SYRIZA came second gaining 26.89% of the votes and 71 seats, while the third party came PASOK with 12.28% and 33 seats. Τhe parties that elected MPs were Independent Greeks (7.51% and 20 seats), Golden Dawn (6.92% and 18 seats), Democratic Left (6.26% and 17 seats) and KKE (4.51% and 12 seats. Ecologists-Greens and the far left parties lost many votes that were gained by SYRIZA in an effort to outnumber New Democracy in the race to win the elections and form an anti-memorandum government. The Communist Party lost the blackmail potential due to its refusal to exploit the changing structure of political opportunities by participating in a left government with the task of overthrowing the Memorandum, despite the fact that in 1989 KKE took advantage of this potential; the party co-governed first with New Democracy in a temporary government and then with New Democracy and PASOK in a three-party government which had passed through the parliament some pro-labour laws such as the law 1876/1990 that established free collective bargaining.
The dark side of this election showed that neonazi, anti- immigrant Golden Dawn stabilised its political and social presence in the country unleashing deadly violence against immigrants.
In terms of electoral sociology SYRIZA gained working class votes and New Democracy gained votes from the upper classes. For example, in the Municipality of Ekali with very rich residents New Democracy gained 70.01 % of the vote and SYRIZA only 6.54% of the vote. Similar was the pattern of the vote throughout the rich residential suburbs in the main urban areas, e.g. in the municipality of Filothei-Psyhiko New Democracy gained 51.48 % and SYRIZA gained 15.86%. On the contrary, in working class municipalities of such Aigaleo (Athens) and Keratsini-Drapetsona (Piraeus) SYRIZA gained 37.15% and 37.23% of the vote while New Democracy gained 19.10% and 17.29% respectively. Finally, we mention that SYRIZA gained a very high share of votes in Attiki and Thessaloniki and other urban districts while New Democracy in rural areas. Another significant feature of both 2012 elections was the increase of abstention from voting: 34,90% in May and 37.53% in June. Thus, these elections were a real “double electoral earthquake” (Voulgaris and Nikolakopoulos 2014).
New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left formed a coalition government aiming at keeping Greece in the Eurozone, which became the hottest political issue in Greece for the next years restructuring the pro-memorandum vs anti-memorandum split. PASOK and Democratic Left in an effort to ease the intraparty tensions decided to participate in the new government in such a way that they pay high political costs and distance themselves in case of negative developments. Except for the leader of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos who as Minister of Finance in the Papadimos’s government negotiated with the troika the 2nd memorandum, most of the cabinet members were either technocrats or politicians who had not any previous participation in governments.
In the while SYRIZA started its reorganization. In May SYRIZA had submitted to the Supreme Court its founding statement as a single party in order to participate in the June 2012 elections. This move served two goals. First in order to satisfy the requirements of the electoral law. Moreover, in order to satisfy to long-standing demand of thousands of SYRIZA’s followers to become members of the party without being of the consistuent parties and groups. The latter demand was satisfied with the 1st (founding) Congress of the party in July 2013. The Congress decided to dissolving the consistuent parties. Some of them resisted their dissolution and were granted time in order to reconsider the issue. In any case, however, SYRIZA’s founding Congress was signalling its determination to fight for conquering the first place in the next elections and forming the first left-wing government in Greek history. SYRIZA is a sui generis political party which combines characteristics of traditional left parties (socialist ideology, access to working classes), left libertarianism (welfare state for all, expansion of human, political and social rights, libertarian ways of thinking and living), radicalism (direct democracy, self-management) and social movements (feminism, ecologism, LGTB etc.). It must be noted that SYRIZA was preferred by the majority of voters from 18 to 54 years old (18-34 years old 33.0%, 35-54% years old 34.0%) while the older voters (above 55 years old) preferred New Democracy by 39%, PASOK by 17% (18-34 years old 6%) and SYRIZA by 20%. This means that the system is being transformed into a relatively polarized pluralist system expressing a highly fragmented society along not only socio-economic class lines but also along age divisions.
The first landmark in the course of SYRIZA towards achieving its goal would be the 2014 European and Regional elections. The European elections of 2014 were held in Greece on Sunday, May 25, 2014 and resulted in the victory of SYRIZA. The second order elections functioned as first order election. (Hermann and Teperoglou (2015). Moreover, the same SYRIZA won the regional elections in Attica, which is the larger region of the country, as well as the region of Ionian Islands. SYRIZA lost the city of Athens just for 2,900 votes. SYRIZA was established as an urban based party representing the working classes and the unemployed of the cities that were struck by the crisis and the austerity policies. The road to governmental power was open for SYRIZA. In September, in the framework of the Thessaloniki International Fair, Alexis Tsipras announces the “Platform of Thessaloniki”, mainly “a reversal of years of fiscal austerity, pushing for a cancellation of so-called ‘odious’ debt, and an end to the Troika-negotiated bailout of 2012. The government called for increasing the minimum wage from €580 to €751 per month, increasing state pensions, and providing assistance to the country’s neediest citizens: food and energy provision, along with protection against foreclosures for homeowners behind in their mortgages. It also called for a crackdown on tax evasion and the halting of privatization plans—including those of the Public Power Corporation of Greece and the Piraeus Port Authority—although the previous government’s completed privatization contracts were to be maintained” (Toloudis 2015).
The cause for holding early elections was SYRIZA’s refusal to consent to vote for new president of the Republic. The prime minister Antonis Samaras did not succeed in bringing together the sufficient number of MPs in order to win the third and final presidential vote.

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5. SYRIZA in government
The January 25th general elections signalled the end of the forty-year old party system. The established political parties’ share of the votes decreased to less than one third due to the awful consequences of the austerity policies they imposed by the «troika». It must be noted that the sum of these parties’ shares of the votes during the period 1981-2009 ranged from 77.3% (2009) to 86.86% (1989).
PASOK, the smaller government partner, paid the heaviest toll, falling to an all-time low 4.68% of the votes and 13 seats. By gaining 27.81% of the votes and 76 seats New Democracy managed to limit its losses to 2% compared to the elections of June 2012. The winner of the election was SYRIZA that challenged and prevailed over the coalition government gaining 36.34 % of the votes and 149 seats. SYRIZA successively defeated New Democracy’s electoral strategy which consisted in creating an atmosphere of fear that SYRIZA’s promise for renegotiation of the bailout package would lead to default or/and Grexit.
However, this is not the whole picture. Austerity policies caused the radicalization and the stabilization of Golden Dawn (6.28% and 17 seats) as well as the reinforcement of KKE (5.47 % and 15 seats) and various groups of the extra-parliamentary left (ANTARSYA 0.64%, other far left 0.20%). We must also include in the picture the new political parties that contested the election for the first time: POTAMI (River, gained 6.05% of the votes) and 17 seats), KIDISO (Democrat Socialists’ Movement led by ex-Prime Minister G. Papandreou) and TELEIA (Full Stop). POTAMI was created by a well-known mainstream TV journalist who cooperated with politicians coming from both the neoliberal right and reformist left parties. TELEIA was formed by a popular actor who has been mayor of a small Greek town after having cooperated with KKE in municipal elections.
Exit-polls conducted showed that there is a “generation gap” between SYRIZA and New Democracy’s electorate since SYRIZA’s votes come from young voters (especially among the age cohort of 35-54 with a lion’s share of the votes amounting to 41.2%) in contrast to New Democracy’ s votes that come mainly from elder voters.
In these elections the internet and interactive social media played a more significant role in political communication compared with the past elections. Except SYRIZA and KKE that held open air mass rallies all other parties held small scale indoor gatherings. Moreover, there were special groups in the parties’ organization that created and shared through the social media humorous posters and videos aiming at the deconstruction of the other side’s campaigns, policies and politicians image. (Laybats and Tredinnick 2015). But mainly social media use constructed a shield against “fear politics” (Georgalou 2015).
At that time, it seemed that Greece was headed towards a new but different two-party system which would consist of a hegemonic party (SYRIZA) and a transitional conservative party. However, it was too early to prejudge this system’s final development since due the electoral law’s provisions SYRIZA did not gain the outright majority of the parliamentary seats and had to form a coalition government with the right wing Independent Greeks that also promised to follow an anti-austerity policy. Moreover, another question was how would POTAMI evolve clarifying its policies and setting up an actual organizational structure in order to become an effective and relevant party exhibiting blackmail potential according to Sartori’s definition.
On August 20 through a TV message to the Greek people, Alexis Tsipras stated that «the popular mandate of the elections of January 25 has exhausted its limits» launching parliamentary elections and excluding the possibility of forming a universal government.
After the submission of the Government’s resignation to the President of the Republic the latter in accordance with the Constitution gave exploratory orders for forming a new government. The procedure was not successful. On August 27 the President of the Supreme Court Vasiliki Thanou caretaker Prime Minister was sworn in.
The snap election that took place on the 20th of September in Greece signified the stabilization of SYRIZA’s hegemony in the Greek political system This time it seems that the Greek voters gave SYRIZA (35.46% of the votes and 145 seats) a second chance to implement its “parallel programme” although the 3rd bailout Memorandum signed by the incumbent SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government (ANEL) with the EU, ECB and IMF Troika sets very strict limits. At the same time abstention from the election hit high record (43.3%) indicating that voters did not go to the polls because they were not satisfied with government’s policy believing either that SYRIZA “betrayed” its ideals or that there was not any issue able to motivate them. Moreover, many voters could not afford to pay a third trip to their constituencies during the same year (elections and referendum).
SYRIZA went to the election having driven out of the party and the government a big number of ministers, parliamentarians and members who disapproved both the signing of the Memorandum and the prerequisite measures. A great number of these cadres and members decided to form a new party called “Popular Unity” (LA.E.) in an effort to represent the people who voted “NO” in the referendum on the 5th of July. Other SYRIZA’s party officials (e.g. the Central Committee secretary) and members who also disagreed with the signing of the memorandum resigned after the cancellation of the extraordinary congress scheduled by the Central Committee to take place in September in order to discuss the government and party’s policy. With 2.86% of the votes “Popular Unity” did not pass the election threshold.
The conservative New Democracy, the official opposition party, went to the election campaigning for a great coalition government with SYRIZA in order to implement the austerity policies prescribed by the memorandum. The party’s provisional leader tried to run a low-key campaign and to portray himself as the next door guy in order to attract right-centre and politically moderate voters mainly coming from other minor centre and centre-left parties. He succeeded in keeping the party united and in gaining votes (28.1% of the votes and 75 seats) due to the failure of POTAMI to achieve its ambitious goal to reach to 10% of the votes. Instead the latter lost votes stopping at 4.09% of the votes and 11 seats.
Neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” also stabilized its presence at the far right end of the political spectrum gaining 6.99% of the votes and 18 seats by taking advantage of both the refugee tide and the high levels of unemployment and poverty projecting itself as the only anti-referendum political force.
At the other end of the political spectrum the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) gained 5.55% of the votes and 17 seats. ANTARSYA gained 0.85% of the votes.
“Dimokratiki Synparataxi”, the coalition between PASOK and DIMAR (Democratic Left) gained 6.28% of the votes and 17 seats.
The newcomer in the Parliament was the Association of Centrists (Enosi Kentroon). This is a sui generis party created by Vasilis Leventis who started his career in politics as a founding member of PASOK in 1974. Few years later he formed his party and started broadcasting talk shows in marginal private TV stations using curses and animated style of speaking. His political views vary between conservatism and neoliberalism with a touch of paternalism and technocratism informing his policy proposals.
Parties created during the previous pre-election period such KIDISO (Democrat Socialists’ Movement led by ex-Prime Minister G. Papandreou) and TELEIA (Full Stop) did not participate in the election due to financial shortage.
Young people hoping for finding jobs through NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) and with a sense of radicalism voted for SYRIZA instead of voting for New Democracy that was blamed for continuing the memorandum policies since 2012 causing the migration of thousands new scientists to other EU countries searching for work and research schemes.
SYRIZA’s second chance is not a piece of cake situation. The split of the party organization has caused a trauma. The focus on party’s president and on his capacity as prime minister (e.g. the last TV advertising spot) can be translated as a transition toward the making a new type of “cartel party” combined with a sense of presidential-style organization. At the same time, new rounds of aggressive austerity measures and neoliberal reforms are still being enacted.

6. Conclusion
SYRIZA has changed the party system unquestionably. The direction of this change is not yet clear since both the international and domestic political and economic factors are continuously changing. The crisis of representation is here to stay. The signs are still vibrant: new parties and political organizations pop up and older ones fade away (Smith and Mair 1990). Two examples are characteristic of this situation. First, the Course of Freedom (Plefsi Eleftherias) which is a left-wing Eurosceptic party founded in April 2016 by former SYRIZA MP and Greek Parliament Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou. Polls conducted year show that in case of early elections the party might pass the 3% threshold and enter the Parliament representing social groups that are active in local movements. On the right-wing milieu, National Unity (Ethniki Enotita) created by former LAOS and New Democracy cadres and MPs intending to attract disappointed Eurosceptic voters who are afraid of Golden Dawn and Independent Greeks. Second sign of rapid realignment is the widening of the gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy at the polls to the detriment of former. SYRIZA’s voters seem to condemn their government’s strategy to implement the policies dictated by the Troika but without turning to the right. Instead they remain in the grey zone of abstention. The bases of realignment are still here: social and economic crisis, intensification of political debate, politicization of society, sudden and massive electoral transformation of the coalitions bases of the party system, unusually high rates of political personnel.

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