The European parliamentary election marked a turning point in Greek politics with voters delivering victory for the first time to a left wing political party, Syriza, while sending three ultra-right Golden Dawn members to Brussels.
“It is good that the people understood that something was going wrong and voted differently. But as it turned out it was too little for the left and too much for the extreme right.,” said one young woman.
“I think the voters wanted to send a message of protest to the government, but they also wanted political stability. That’s why they voted the way they did,” was one young man’s opinion.
Having won the ballot by a margin of nearly four points over the conservative New Democracy party, Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras called for general elections to be held immediately.
Dimitris Papadimoulis is one of Syriza’s newly-elected candidates to the European Parliament:
“Syriza is ready to win the national elections anytime and form a broad democratic government. But even with a clear mandate from the people, we will still seek political and social alliances,” ha says.
In spite of ruling party New Democracy’s defeat by almost 3.8% Prime Minister Antonis Samaras insisted that this is not enough to trigger early general elections. Crucial to his decision was the better- than-expected performance from coalition partner PASOK. This meant the two coalition parties still command a higher combined vote than Syriza.
“Despite Syriza’s victory in the European ballot, conservative Prime Minister Samaras sees no reason to call a snap national election and pledges to push forward with reforms until the country overcomes the economic crisis,” says euronews’ Stamatis Giannisis.