Greece’s Opposition Parties React to Electoral Law Change Proposal



parliamentThe Greek government’s proposal for the change of the electoral law tabled in parliament has been met with negative reactions from the main opposition and mixed response from the remaining parties.

The main electoral law amendments are the abolition of the 50 bonus parliament seats to the winning party, strictly proportional representation and the right to vote at the age of 17. In order for the proposal to pass, 200 votes are needed in the 300-seat House.

Main opposition New Democracy is fervently against the changes, especially regarding the 50 bonus seats. The conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the abolition of the bonus seats will lead to repeated elections because no party would be able to form government. Mitsotakis has also said that SYRIZA came to power with the 50 bonus seats and will leave power with the same electoral law.

PASOK president Fofi Gennimata made a five-point proposal of her own and asked for consensus on the issue. However she has not made any statements as to whether she would vote in favor or against the changes.

To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis is also against the new electoral law. He said he is in favor of the bonus seats, but not to 50. He proposed 15 to 30 bonus seats depending on the total percentage of the vote. Like Mitsotakis, he said that without the bonus seats whoever wins the election would not be able to form government.

The two extreme parties in Greek parliament are also in favor of proportional representation. The Greek Communist Party (KKE) chief Dimitris Koutsoumbas was vague whether his party lawmakers would vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposal, but said that the reasons Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chose to change the electoral law now is very suspicious.

Golden Dawn, on the other hand, is in favor of proportional representation and against the bonus seats.

Centrists Union leader Vassilis Leventis is in favor of the changes and stated he will vote for the proposed amendments. His position is that only an all-party government would be able to bring Greece out of the crisis and that proportional representation is the only way to bring opposing parties in alliance in a national unity government. He also stated that those who vote ‘no’ would be aiding New Democracy to come to power, since the conservative party is leading in opinion polls.

Sources at Maximos Mansion say that the proposal is a win-win situation for SYRIZA. If they manage to get the 200 votes they need, it would be a great achievement of the Left to bring proportional representation in Greek parliament. If they lose, they can always say that the conservative powers are still trying to maintain their non-democratic, vested interests.