First thoughts on the 25 January 2015 election in Greece

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GPSG Pamphlet No 4

First thoughts on the 25 January 2015 election in Greece Edited by

Roman Gerodimos

Copy editing: Patty Dohle Roman Gerodimos Pamphlet design:

Ana Alania

Cover photo:

The Zappeion Hall, by Panoramas on Flickr

Inside photos:

Jenny Tolou Eveline Konstantinidis – Ziegler Spyros Papaspyropoulos (Flickr) Ana Alania Roman Gerodimos

Published with the support of the Politics & Media Research Group, Bournemouth University Selection and editorial matter © Roman Gerodimos for the Greek Politics Specialist Group 2015 All remaining articles © respective authors 2015 All photos used with permission or under a Creative Commons licence Published on 2 February 2015 by the Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG)

Editorial | Roman Gerodimos Continuing a tradition that started in 2012, a couple of weeks ago the Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) invited short commentaries from its members, affiliates and the broader academic community, as a first ‘rapid’ reaction to the election results. The scale of the response was humbling and posed an editorial dilemma, namely whether the pamphlet should be limited to a small number of indicative perspectives, perhaps favouring more established voices, or whether it should capture the full range of viewpoints. As two of the founding principles and core aims of the GPSG are to act as a forum for the free exchange of ideas and also to give voice to younger and emerging scholars, it was decided that all contributions that met our editorial standards of factual accuracy and timely submission would be included. While that decision posed a challenge in terms of editing and producing the pamphlet within an extremely short timeframe – this publication is being made available exactly one week after the confirmation of results – this has been an immensely rewarding task. The sheer volume and collective insight of the contributions provides us both with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the current state of Greek politics, and with an historical artefact – a narrative account of how some political and social scientists interpreted this election at this point in time. Even if each of us is an ‘unreliable narrator’ of events in Greece, a few key themes and threads emerge from this collection, which are worth noting: (i)

the success of Syriza’s message of hope versus a less successful campaign by New Democracy focusing on the threat of instability


the realignment but continuing volatility of the Greek party system with the confirmation of Syriza as a pillar of a new (quasi) two-party system, the collapse of PASOK, the fragmentation of the political centre and the shortening of the electoral cycle


the logic behind the Syriza / Independent Greeks coalition and the tensions that may possibly arise from their ideological differences


the increasingly imminent tension between Syriza’s radical agenda of ending austerity and the Troika’s stated positions


the continuing salience of populism, especially at the far right of the political spectrum


the potential impact of Syriza’s victory on other political parties, actors and debates across the European Union and beyond.

On behalf of the GPSG, I would like to thank all the contributors for taking part in this collective project, as well as Patty, Ana and Anthony for their help with the editing and design. Special thanks to Dr Darren Lilleker and the Politics & Media Research Group (P&MRG) at Bournemouth University, and to the Political Studies Association, for supporting this publication. We are grateful to Nikos Vatopoulos and indebted to the artists who kindly allowed us to use their photos for this pamphlet. We hope that this publication will lead to a fruitful dialogue and welcome further contributions through