The government’s proposal for revision of the Constitution is a political move that might lead to early elections in Greece, says a Eurasia Group report.
According to the U.S.-based political think tank analysis, the revision of the Constitution is a movement based on clearly political criteria and not institutional. The government sees the constitutional review as a vehicle for a new round of political consultations, which could lead to new alliances.
Regarding the proposals put forward by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, they include constitutional recognition of collective bargaining in the labor market, and that of public control over water and electricity supply. These issues are pledges made by the government to the Greek people, but go against what creditors require of Athens per the bailout agreement. Such changes, therefore, could disrupt the government’s relations with European lenders, the Eurasia Group report says.
The autumn of 2016 could be a test for the Greek government. It marks the second bailout program review by lenders at a time Greek citizens will have to pay increased tax liabilities. The review includes tough labor reforms that would create more social dissatisfaction.
The Eurasia Group analysts consider a possible cabinet reshuffle immediately after the SYRIZA conference in September, when the government would have to address these hard challenges. They estimate that ministers who have opposed big private investments such as Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis and Shipping Minister Theodoros Dritsas would be replaced, along with Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis.
Within this context, the Eurasia Group gives a 60% chance of early elections in the first half of 2017 or in the period from October 2017 until April 2018, a development that correlates with the achievement or not of fiscal targets set by lenders.
The possibility that the government exhausts the four-year term gets a 20% possibility. The possibility of early elections in autumn is given 15%. Finally, the possibility that SYRIZA changes coalition partner and goes with the Centrists Union, or adds the latter to existing junior partner Independent Greeks and gets a stronger majority in parliament, is given a 5% possibility.