Greek voters will head to the polls again on July 7, after President Prokopis Pavlopoulos accepted a request by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to dissolve parliament in the wake his stinging defeat in European parliamentary elections a few weeks ago.
In last month’s European Parliamentary elections, Tsipras’ governing leftist Syriza party lost by almost 10 percentage points to the main opposition, center-right New Democracy party headed by Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Greek opinion polls— which are sometimes highly unreliable— do suggest that New Democracy will win the upcoming national election comfortably.
Financial markets also welcomed the prospect of elections in Greece with Greek stocks surging on Monday 3.3 per cent to a 13-month high.
Tsipras first came to power in January 2015 on a leftwing platform that resonated with austerity-weary Greeks who rejected establishment politicians.
Tsipras pledged to scrap spending cuts that hit average Greeks, tax hikes and income reductions that were demanded over the previous five years by the country’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund in return for the rescue loans that protected Greece from bankruptcy.
But a tumultuous few months of negotiations with creditors in the Eurozone and negotiators at the International Monetary Fund led to limits on the amount Greeks could withdraw from banks and near-bankruptcy for the country.
Tsipras was finally forced — against the wishes of the people as expressed in a referendum he had called days earlier — to sign a new multi-billion euro bailout, conditional on further tax hikes and pension cuts. Nevertheless, Syriza was re-elected in September 2015.
But Tsipras’ ratings were badly hit by numerous unpopular moves, including a highly-touted deal to normalize relations with neighboring North Macedonia and a botched response to wildfires that killed more than a hundred people last summer.
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