Next year (in spring, I think) Greece will hold elections for the Presidency of the Republic. It is my understanding that this may lead to general elections if the candidate for President of the Republic put forward by the government does not receive enough support from the Parliament (at least 2/3 of the Parliament in the first or second rounds of voting or at least 3/5 in a final round).

It is my understanding that Independent Greeks (17 seats in the parliament) and 15 "lawmakers" (who are they?) will be the key members to decide whether or not there is new President of the Republic, and thereby, general elections in 2015. Is this right? How likely is the candidate does not receive enough votes?

Note that SYRIZA won in the past elections for the European Parliament, so that it would not be unlikely that this party replace the conservative party that currently supports the government.

2 Answers 2


Right now, the distribution of seats in the Greek Parliament is:

  • Rulling coalition (New Democracy & PASOK): 152
  • SYRIZA: 71
  • Golden Dawn: 16
  • Independent Greeks: 13
  • Communist Party of Greece: 12
  • DIMAR: 11
  • independents: 25

Golden Dawn and the Communist Party will most certainly not support the government's candidate. Nikolaos Michaloliakos, GD's leader, was arrested in September 2013 and is still imprisoned (pending trial), along with other prominent party members. GD has accused the government of persecution and it's extremely unlikely that they'll do them any favours.

The Communist Party of Greece considers itself the polar opposite of the ruling coalition, and has a very long history of not co-operating with any other party (even left wing parties). It will be a very big surprise if they support the government's candidate.

Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA's leader, has already stated that they won't support any candidate. This isn't a surprise, SYRIZA has the most to gain from premature elections. As you've mentioned, they won the recent Euro election, and are leading most polls. Unless something changes dramatically, they have a real chance of winning the next elections.

Thus, the government will have to seek the 28 votes they need in a pool of 49 voters. It could really go either way:

  • The leader of Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos, has - very strongly - stated that they won't support the government's candidate. However, the party's MPs have not always followed their leader in the past. A handful of the 25 independent MPs are former Independent Greeks that left the party after clashing with Kammenos.
  • The leader of DIMAR, Fotis Kouvelis, has stated that he doesn't think the parliament will be able to elect a president.

If we take the opposition's statements at face value and all their MPs follow the party line, then the presidential election will fail. If that happens, then the government will have to dissolve the parliament in at most ten days.

However, there's really no way to guess how any of these 49 voters will vote. On top of that, I can't say categorically that all SYRIZA's MPs will oppose a left leaning candidate. The goverment has already approached Mikis Theodorakis (he denied), so the scenario of a candidate with ideological ties to SYRIZA isn't that far fetched.

Only time will tell.

The third round of the presidential election (Dec 29) failed to elect Stavros Dimas. The general election is set for 25, January 2015.

  • How good are the prospects for Independent Greeks in next elections? This seems important.
    – drake
    Jul 29, 2014 at 20:45
  • @drake Their numbers are falling. The last poll I read (about a week ago) puts them at 3.5%, which means they may not even make it into parliament (there's a 3% cutoff).
    – yannis
    Jul 29, 2014 at 20:54

In retrospect, Syriza won the January 2015 election and was two seats short of a majority. A coalition with Independant Greece enabled it to form a government lead by Alexis Tsipras.

However, the summer of 2015 didn't lack elections, with the bailout referendum in july and new legislative elections in september caused by Tsipras' first government's resignation. Once again, Syriza came first and allied with Independant Greece to form a second Tsipras' government.

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