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article imageGreece's next government: One party or a grand coalition?

By AFP     Sep 20, 2015 in Politics

Polls ahead of Greece's snap elections on Sunday show the top two parties neck-and-neck, with neither likely to garner enough votes to form a majority government.

Following are three next-day scenarios:

- A coalition government -

Without an absolute majority, the party that wins the most votes -- polls show Syriza and the conservative New Democracy party well ahead of all other contenders -- will have to forge alliances.

The third party, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, is not expected to win more than seven percent, trailed by several other smaller parties.

The vote leader could seek alliances with Potami and Pasok, small parties that both voted in August in favour of the painful economic reforms that Athens must enact under the terms of Greece's latest third bailout.

Syriza supporters wait for Alexis Tsipras outside a polling station in Athens on September 20  2015
Syriza supporters wait for Alexis Tsipras outside a polling station in Athens on September 20, 2015
Louisa Gouliamaki, AFP

The centrist Potami, formed in 2014 by prominent TV journalist Stavros Theodorakis, previously had 17 seats in parliament.

The once all-powerful socialist Pasok party, which also had 17 seats, in July elected its first woman leader, Fofi Gennimata, who has called for unity to take Greece forward.

- One-party government for Syriza -

After winning 36.4 percent of the vote in January elections, the party of former premier Alexis Tsipras narrowly failed to secure an absolute majority in parliament.

With 149 out of 300 seats, he formed a coalition with the small nationalist ANEL party to add 13 MPs to his voting bloc.

Tsipras, who resigned on August 20, is now seeking re-election on pledges to negotiate softer terms with Greece's international creditors.

But the 41-year-old is struggling to recover from his decision in July to accept a third EU bailout worth 86 billion euros ($95 billion) to ward off a debt default and forestall a calamitous exit from the eurozone.

In the space of a few weeks, nearly a fifth of his lawmakers split away to form Popular Unity, a new anti-austerity party of eurosceptics.

To the right, Tsipras was also surprised by New Democracy, which is gaining in popularity thanks to efforts by its new leader, Vangelis Meimarakis, to move it closer to the centre.

Eve-of-election polls show Syriza barely ahead of New Democarcy.

If a large chunk of the 10 to 15 percent of "undecided" voters -- who analysts say are mainly former Syriza voters -- refuse to give the party a second chance, a majority for the anti-austerity party will be out of reach.

- Unity government: New Democracy's ambition -

Meimarakis insists that Greece needs a government of national unity after years of economic and political crisis.

"I firmly believe that the new government should be built with as many parties as possible. If the Greek people choose New Democracy to prevail, as it seems will be the case, I will try to achieve really broad cooperation of the political parties of the European front. I will certainly include Syriza," he has said.

So far, however, Tsipras has vehemently ruled out any coalition with New Democracy.


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