The Guardian April 19, 2000


Greek elections: two-party system dominates

In Greece's parliamentary elections held on April 9, the social democrat 
Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) increased its vote by 2.3 per cent 
and won an outright majority of 158 (162 in 1996) out of 300 seats.

The conservative New Democracy (ND) party won 125 (108 in 1996) seats, 
increasing its vote by 4.6 percent. The Greek Communist Party (CPG) won 11 
seats (11 in 1996), with a slight drop in its vote of less than 0.1 per 
cent. The remaining six seats were won by the Coalition of the Left and 
Progress of Greece (SYN) (9 in 1996).

The following is a preliminary statement (abridged) on the election results 
by the General Secretary of the CC of the CPG, Aleka Paparigha:

We believe that the overall election results that have emerged with high 
percentages going to the two main parties  New Democracy and PASOK, and 
with PASOK having a marginal majority  for the first time perhaps in 
modern history, clearly do not correspond to the Greek people's stance 
before the elections in terms of the popular dissatisfaction and anger ...

Indeed, these results are unrepresentative.

Thus the issue arises which the CPG had raised before the elections, of how 
freely our people vote.

We say this, of course, not in the sense that the voter goes to the ballot 
box literally in chains, but because we believe that in recent years our 
people have sustained a multiple offensive against their living and working 
conditions and an unprecedented effort to manipulate and intimidate them, 
which has made it difficult for them to see that there is another road they 
should follow.

A significant segment of our people voted with the thought that there are 
no immediate prospects, but that they had to choose between the two main 
parties.

Without ... steadfastness in its policy, without the effort it made to 
support the people's struggles, to create fronts and to rally other forces, 
the CPG too would almost certainly have followed the downward course of 
other parties.

We have the dynamic of CPG action.

For us, this dynamic is a quality factor in Party policy, through the 
forces with whom it collaborated, through the broader support it 
encountered, and primarily through its very broad communication with and 
permeation of broad segments of the people, since in fact, throughout the 
entire election campaign, we kept hearing everywhere that we are a party 
that struggles; and we found a high degree of acceptance of our more 
general positions.

We are certain the government that will emerge from PASOK's marginal 
majority, which one way and another will be a minority government, will not 
have its hands free, but will meet resistance even from those who voted for 
it.

This new government will not have an easy time and of course we do not 
expect the ND party to exercise opposition.

The ND will continue to give its assent to the PASOK Government on basic 
issues, as it has done in the past.

Opposition will once again spring up from among the efforts of the CPG and 
of the forces with which we cooperated, and we are sure that in the period 
ahead and the years to come there will be ferment and realignments.

We are certain that even those forces among the people who voted for one of 
the two main parties will eventually pour out onto the streets and into the 
struggle, because harsh measures are on the way which we do not believe the 
people will stand for.

And new conclusions will emerge, new forces among the people will discuss 
and reflect on about what we've been talking about, i.e. that there must be 
a break with the two-party system, and above all a front rallying forces 
against European Monetary Union, its effects, and the new NATO doctrine.

The PASOK leadership has a serious responsibility. Of course we do not 
expect them to assume it, precisely because the progressive people of the 
Left have been trapped in dilemmas, and it can be proved that the service 
provided by the PASOK leadership is to give blood to the ND.

Nor can PASOK play the role it says it plays, i.e. to act as a barrier to 
conservatism.

On the contrary it actually nourishes this trend. And it can be shown that 
the policy which could constitute the hope for radicalising the masses of 
the people lies in the CPG's proposal for a popular front. There is no 
other hope, no other outlet.

As we promised, we are continuing the struggle.

What is very important is that people joined us in the [election] struggle 
who were not communists. They worked hard beside us. And this leaven that 
was created will certainly produce results from here on.

Quality elements have been gained by the CPG, through their allies in the 
election campaign. They will remain as a legacy and will be utilised in the 
best possible way.

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