Syriza’s rout in the Greek general election

The first round of Greece’s general election Sunday was won comfortably by the ruling conservative New Democracy (ND) party, with almost 41 percent of the vote. It was a rout for the largest opposition party, Syriza (the “Coalition of the Radical Left”), which secured just 20 percent, a fall of 12 percentage points since 2019.

ND’s victory came despite widespread opposition in the working class to its austerity agenda, its homicidal pandemic policies, leading to six million infections and over 36,000 deaths, and its placement of Greece at the centre of NATO’s de facto war against Russia.

The result was not even impacted by the weeks of mass protests and strikes following the horrific death of 57 mainly young people in February’s train crash in the Tempi valley, caused by decades of cuts and the slashing of staff.

Electoral map of Greece showing Syriza’s rout by New Democracy. New Democracy won 58 out of 59 of Greece’s electoral districts. The sole electoral district won by Syriza is marked in red on the map. [Photo: screenshot: Greek Ministry of Interior election page]

Workers are in acute social distress, having been bled dry by 15 years of austerity. Under these conditions, the victory of ND can only be explained by the absence of any genuine left alternative. The great majority of the working class concluded that none of the official parties of the nominal left—Syriza, PASOK and the Stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE)—were significantly different from ND. Voting is compulsory in national elections in Greece, but some 40 percent of the electorate abstained from voting at all.

Syriza’s period in office, from 2015 to 2019, and the years since its initial defeat by ND, have demonstrated that it is a party of European Union-dictated austerity that has acted as one of Europe’s main jailers of refugees and has played a decisive role in facilitating NATO’s war against Russia.

The record of Syriza is a strategic experience for the international working class, demonstrating the bankruptcy of claims made by pseudo-left tendencies around the world that meaningful change can be made by voting their pro-capitalist parties into government. It is essential for workers to consciously reject this political trap amid mounting strikes and protests internationally that raise the necessity of a socialist struggle against capitalism.  

Greece’s then prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, addresses members of his Syriza party during a meeting, in Athens, May 27, 2019 [AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis]

2023-05-24 01:32:29