SYRIZA WINS GREECE'S ELECTION

Greece went to the polls on Sunday, and the exit polls are projecting a victory for the incumbent Prime Minister and Syriza.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Immediate TV exit polls gave Tsipras 30-34% of the vote, and centre-right New Democracy 28.5-32.5%. But their support seems to have been stronger than that.
  • Who comes first is particularly important in Greek politics, since the winner gets an extra 50 seat bonus in parliament. 
  • You can watch the results as they come out live here. So far, with 50% counted, things are looking stronger than the exit polls expected for Syriza, which leads by 7.5 percentage points
  • New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis has conceded. 
  • Syriza could potentially go into coalition with the Independent Greeks, their previous partners, but that might not get them a majority. They could also go for one or more of a handful of small centrist and centre-left parties.

Though New Democracy is winning in some areas, Syriza is sweeping the board again, and the governing party seems to have lost less than 2 percentage points of its support from last time:

Syriza, the radical left-wing party, was catapulted into power in January this year in opposition to the country’s European bailout deals and austerity policies.

Eight months later, after months of torturous negotiations, capitulation, the resignation of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and the calling of new snap elections, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is now heading up a pro-bailout party.

The anti-bailout hard left of Syriza are running under a separate banner, as a bloc called Popular Unity. 

The polls had generally given Syriza a narrow lead, but it’s been uncomfortably close to New Democracy, which headed up the country’s coalition government until early this year. It seems like things weren’t actually quite so close. 

It initially seemed like the winner would need to build a coalition with centrist and centre-left parties like To Potami, Union of Centrists and Pasok. Tsipras has expressed a preference for a coalition with the Independent Greeks (ANEL). 

Here’s how the seats would look based on the exit polls:

Open Europe director Raoul Ruparel listed the potential coalitions led by Syriza here, based on the exit polls. Those rule out the fascist Golden Dawn, Syriza offshoots Popular Unity and the unreformed communist party, none of which will join the government, or be invited.

But it looks like Tsipras might even simply be able to continue with the Independent Greeks, and no extra support will be necessary.

International interest in Greek politics fell away a little after the bailout deal was signed. Both Tsipras and ND leader Evangelos Meimarakis were committed to bring in the country’s third bailout deal.

We’ll have more as the results come out.

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