Parliamentary Elections

July 7, 2019


Center-right New Democracy won 39.8% of the vote, giving the party 158 seats in parliament, i.e. a governing majority (the electoral system allocates 50 “bonus” seats to the party with the most votes). Outgoing prime minister Tsipras’s SYRIZA won 31.5% (86 seats), the center-left coalition received 8.1% of the vote (22 seats), the Communists gained 5.3% (15 seats), and neo-Nazi Golden Dawn failed to reach the 3% voting threshold and will thus not receive any seat. New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as Prime Minister on Monday, July 8.


  • Unicameral parliament in a parliamentary republic with 300 members of parliament.
  • MPs are elected for four-year terms through a proportional system (party lists); parties must obtain 3% of the vote at a minimum to enter parliament.
  • The Prime Minister is elected by the parliament and is the head of government; he recommends members of the cabinet that the President (mostly ceremonial role) confirms.
  • Incumbent: PM Alexis Tsipras of the leftist Syriza party, in a coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks until 2019.
  • Greece recently signed the Prespa agreement with North Macedonia that resolved a decades-long dispute over the country’s name.



  • Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) : Marxist ideology; socially progressive; nationalization of industries; mild Euroskepticism; NATO-skeptic; reached the name deal with North Macedonia.
  • New Democracy (ND) : center-right; socially conservative; supports market liberalization and privatizations; pro-EU; pro-NATO; opposed the name deal.
  • Movement for Change (KINAL) : center-left coalition that includes PASOK (social democrats); socially progressive; platform of state intervention but supported austerity measures in early 2010s; pro-EU; pro-NATO; opposed the name deal.
  • Communist Party of Greece (KKE) : Marxist-Leninist party; communism; socially conservative; abolition of the capitalist system; Euroskepticism; anti-NATO; opposed the name deal.
  • Golden Dawn (XA) : far-right; neo-Nazism; socially conservative; supports nationalization of banks and natural resources; hard Euroskepticism; anti-NATO; opposed the name deal.


Impact on U.S. Interests

  • Greece is a NATO and EU member; it hosts the U.S. Naval Support Activity in Souda Bay (over 600 personnel) that provides crucial support to air and naval forces operating in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa
  • Greece’s economic collapse after the 2008 crisis caused much instability within the Eurozone, and Greece is still not out of the woods; the country has welcomed high levels of Chinese investments to support the economy, including the acquisition of the port of Piraeus.
  • The Prespa Agreement that Alexis Tsipras reached with North Macedonia resolves a decades-long dispute over the country’s name, and now paves the way to NATO membership and, possibly in time, EU accession for North Macedonia.


Key Issues to Watch

  • SYRIZA has grown increasingly unpopular because of the austerity measures Prime Minister Tsipras was forced to pass (bailout package) and because of the Prespa Agreement, which many Greeks view as a betrayal of Greek national identity.
  • Youth unemployment remains at 40% despite a 1.9% GDP growth rate in 2018 while the country’s 4 systemic banks hold €85 billion in non-performing loans (half of the projected GDP for 2019).
  • With this economic picture, many young people are attracted to New Democracy despite its conservative social platform, as they look for any way to revive the economy and create employment opportunities.
  • It is unclear whether New Democracy can get a governing majority in parliament, and unclear who would back them if they cannot reach that majority. ND’s leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will face strong union pressure and continuing protests against austerity.




Data source: Pulse RC/Skai and Interview/Vergina TV.