Greek Political Parties

Brief Overview of the Greek Party System   The origins of the current Greek party system can be traced at the beginning of the Third Greek Republic in 1974, after the end of the 7-year dictatorship and the restoration of democracy. The two major parties that dominated the greatest part of this period and alternated in office until 2009 were the centre-right New Democracy (ND) and the centre-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). Since the June 2012 election they form a coalition government together (along with Democratic Left which exited the government in June 2013), having as major opposition the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA), a party that has its origins in the reformist Left tradition. The only other party that exists continuously throughout this period is the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Before the current coalition government, Greece had a tradition of single-party governments, with rare and short-termed exceptions, usually due to elements of majoritarianism in the various electoral systems adopted during the last four decades. Except from the above mentioned 5 parties (ND, PASOK, SYRIZA, KKE & DIMAR), two more parties are represented in the Greek Parliament nowadays: Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn. The results of the last election (June 2012) and the allocation of seats are presented in the table below, which is followed by a brief description of the Greek political parties that are represented in Parliament:   nd gr profile
New Democracy-ND   New Democracy (ND) was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis, its historical leader, and is the main centre-right political party in Greece. ND has been the leading party in 9 out of the 15 Parliamentary elections that have been held in Greece since the restoration of Democracy in 1974. In the two consecutive elections of May and June 2012, ND was the leading party, despite the fact that they got their two historically low vote shares (18.9% and 29.7% respectively). After the June 2012 election, they formed a coalition government with PASOK, their historical rival, and Democratic Left. Its ideology is socially conservative, with economically liberal elements. ND supports and, as a governing party, implements the economic bail-out program for Greece. The leader of ND and Prime Minister of Greece is Antonis Samaras. ND is a member of the European People’s Party.   syriza gr profile
Coalition of the Radical Left-SYRIZA   SYRIZA was originally formed before the 2004 election, as an alliance of political parties, groups and independent politicians of reformist left, radical left, green, feminist, Maoist, Trotskyist and eurocommunist traditions. The dominant party was the Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN), which was continuously represented in Parliament since 1996, with a vote share in the area of 3-6%. In May and June 2012 elections SYRIZA had their record high vote share, with 16.8% and 26.9% respectively, currently being the second biggest party in the Greek Parliament. In July 2013 all the separate groups and parties agreed to end their individual existence and political action and since then SYRIZA is a unified party. SYRIZA opposes the economic bail-out program of Greece. The leader of SYRIZA is Alexis Tsipras. SYRIZA is a member of the Party of the European Left and an observer at the European Anti-Capitalist Left.  
pasok gr profile
Panhellenic Socialist Movement-PASOK   PASOK was founded on September 3rd 1974, by its historical leader, Andreas Papandreou. Until the May and June 2012 consecutive elections, PASOK was a dominant party in Greek politics, being the leading party in 6 parliamentary elections and being in office as a single-party government for 22 years between 1981 (their first electoral win) and 2012. However, in the 2012 elections they were the third most popular party, getting 13.2% of the popular vote in May and 12.3% in June. This means that they lost almost 3/4 of their vote share since October 2009, when they got 43.9%. After the June 2012 election PASOK formed a coalition government with ND. PASOK supports the economic bail-out program. It was traditionally a party leaning towards the social-democratic tradition, however in recent years it has endorsed economically liberal and fiscally conservative positions. The leader of the Party is Evangelos Venizelos. He is the Vice-President of the Greek Government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. PASOK is a member of Socialist International and the European Socialists.  
anel gr profile
Independent Greeks   The Independent Greeks is the newest electorally important political party of the Greek political system. They were fourth in vote share in the June 2012 election, with 7.5%. The party was founded on February 2012 by Panos Kammenos, a former MP for New Democracy, who was expelled from the party for opposing key political decisions of the party. Ten former ND MPs followed Kammenos. Independent Greeks is a right-wing conservative party, with nationalistic and eurosceptic elements. Before the May 2012 elections the small left-wing Panhellenic Citizen Chariot also reached an agreement of collaboration with Independent Greeks.  
golden gr profile
Golden Dawn Golden Dawn is a far-right political party, with ultranationalist, fascist and neo-nazi ideology. The extreme elements of its ideology are officially disputed by the party. Its political agenda is dominated by a xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric. It was officially founded in 1993 by Nikolaos Michaloliakos and it had remained electorally unimportant until the local elections of 2010, when they got 5.3% in the municipality of Athens. In the consecutive general elections of May and June 2012 they got 7% and 6.9% respectively, entering the Parliament for the first time. Golden Dawn’s action often have the characteristics of a militia and, following an investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013, Michaloliakos, five other Golden Dawn MPs and several other members were arrested and charged with forming a criminal organization.  
dimar gr profile
Democratic Left-DIMAR   Democratic Left (DIMAR) was founded in June 2010 by Fotis Kouvelis, a former MP of SYRIZA. He was followed by 3 MPs and several SYRIZA members, who belonged to the Renewal Wing of SYRIZA. In March 2012, 6 MP’s of PASOK also joined DIMAR. Its ideology has pro-european, social democratic and reformist left elements. After the June 2012 election they participated in the coalition government along with ND and PASOK, however without fully supporting the main policies implemented. In June 2013, after the sudden closure of Greek Public Broadcaster (ERT) by the Greek Government, DIMAR expressed its disagreement and subsequently exited the coalition government.   kke gr profile
Communist Party of Greece-KKE   The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is the oldest Greek political party. It was founded in February 1918 as the Socialist Labour Party of Greece and was renamed as Communist Party of Greece in 1924, with its first General Secretary being Pandelis Pouliopoulos. Its ideology remains orthodox Marxism-Leninism. It elected its first MP’s in 1926. In WWII, during the German occupation of Greece, KKE played a leading role in the Greek resistance. After the end of the WWII, KKE and its right-wing nationalist rivals engaged in a civil war, between 1946-1949, which ended with the defeat of the Communists. KKE was outlawed and therefore contested no elections for 27 years, from 1947 until 1974. Since 1974 it has a continuous presence in the Greek Parliament. In 1988, KKE formed, together with the Greek Left (a eurocommunist party that originated from a 1968 KKE division and was largely the predecessor of today’s SYRIZA) the Coalition of the Left and Progress, which got 13.1% of the votes in the June 1989 elections and subsequently participated in a coalition government with right-wing ND and, after the November 1989 election, in an Ecumenical Government. In 1991 KKE left the Coalition of Left and Progress and since then it has an autonomous presence. In the June 2012 elections it received its record low percentage of vote (4.5%) losing almost half of its votes from May 2012, when it got 8.5%.

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