The return to the daily political ‘routine’ of handling the economic crisis in the aftermath of the November local and regional elections has been very rapid. Despite the considerable weakening of the rul-ing party’s electoral support, as recorded – just one month ago – in the elections, perhaps in response to this, the government is now attempting to ‘sally forth’.
The poll result of 7 November may prove to be a watershed in the history of elections in Greece since the restoration of democracy in 1974 and a turning point in the process of transition from the traditional two-party system of the past decades to a new type of ‘bipolarity’.
Today’s election result will provide a very clear indication, not only of the relative strength of Greece’s political parties one year after the most recent parliamentary elections and six months after the signing of the Memorandum, but also – and above all – of the extent and depth of the disintegration of the party system which is taking place.
The first three months of implementation of the measures set out in the Memorandum coincides with the completion of 10 months of PASOK governance. The significant decline in government support stemming from social discontent, in an extremely short space of time, is clearly reflected in the attitudes of citizens, not only toward the government policies being exercised (or not) but also toward the persons entrusted with their implementation.
The significant social and political developments that are currently in full swing are clearly reflected in Public Issue’s July Barometer. The negative performance of the ruling party and the prime minister has heightened uncertainty about political developments, but also about the endurance of the present government.
Trend toward ‘exit’ from the electorate, strong jolt to two-party system and strengthening of the Left
The dynamics of the new period for the political scene in Greece following the coming of the IMF are manifested in three directions (in order of importance): First, by the great surge in voters’ intentions to abstain and exit the electorate. Second, by the significant weakening of the two major governing parties, not only at the level of their leadership, but also in terms of their support within society. Third, by the increase in electoral support for the Left. At the same time, society’s preference for single-party governments has declined markedly.
Even before being passed by parliament and of course before their implementation, popular support for the government’s new measures is very low. Two in 3 citizens (66%) are against the measures, while this figure is even higher among those segments of the active population which are directly affected, e.g. salaried employees in the public sector (68%), in the private sector (69%) and the unemployed (73%). Eight in 10 respondents consider the measures “unjust”, while 6 in 10 believe that “they serve the interests of the few” and not the “common good”.