Elections results present fresh challenges for SYRIZA and New Democracy

SYRIZA’s qualified victory and New Democracy’s close shave leaves Greek politics finely balanced and with both parties having key tactical decisions to make.

A crucial few months for SYRIZA

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras met Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday and repeated the request he made on Sunday night for general elections to be held “as soon as possible.” It is far from the first time that SYRIZA has asked for snap polls but the first time it has done so with something to back up its demand. One of SYRIZA’s biggest challenges now is how it handles Sunday’s victory and if it can strike a balance between keeping up the pressure on the government while retaining its credibility.

SYRIZA has often undermined itself in the last few months by making gestures it wants to appear as bold moves – such as calling for no confidence votes in Parliament – but which make the leftists seem desperate. In his comments after the meeting Greece’s president, Tsipras made clear reference to the election of Papoulias’s successor, which is now likely to be the next major political landmark as SYRIZA might try and force national elections then.

Tsipras also said he believes that government lacks legitimacy to make key decisions such as agreeing debt relief and appointing a new Bank of Greece governor without consulting SYRIZA. Such issues will form key political battlegrounds between now and the end of Papoulias’s tenure. How SYRIZA performs during this time will be crucial to determining whether it is able to generate extra confidence among voters. A lack of belief in SYRIZA being able to manage key political issues has been one of the main factors holding back its progress.

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