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Greece Elections has 36 Parties Vying for Seats

Frankfurt, Brussels (5/5 – 50)

Following the Greek Supreme Court’s decision released on May 2, a total of 36 parties and party coalitions will run in the May 21 Greek elections.

Of the initial 50 parties, coalitions, and independent candidates that had submitted applications, the Supreme Court rejected 14 parties, including “National Party – Hellenes”, which was founded by jailed neo-Nazi Ilias Kasidiaris.

Kasidiaris, 42, founded the party after receiving a 13-year prison sentence in 2020. He was convicted as a leading member of an extreme right party, Golden Dawn, which was blamed for multiple attacks against migrants and left-wing political activists.The party was founded as a neo-Nazi group in the 1980s but later claimed to represent a broader nationalist ideology.

The party officials have vowed to fight the ban in European courts. Opinion polls in recent weeks suggested the party would have done well enough in the election to be represented in parliament, with a projected 4% of voter support.

Greece’s Supreme Court banned the party from participating in the country’s upcoming general election based on legal amendments approved by lawmakers in February.The amendments disqualify parties led by politicians convicted of serious offenses or ones that would not “serve the free functioning of (Greece’s) democratic constitution.”

Due to these new terms, imprisoned Kasidiaris and his party are not allowed to participate in the May 21 election. The Supreme Court’s 9-1 decision to uphold parliament’s action could effect the outcome of the election, since the winning party would likely have an easier time forming a new government with fewer parties represented in the national legislature.

Previously, Greek PresidentKaterina Sakellaropoulou on April 22 approved a request by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to dissolve the country’s parliament on April 23.The parliament was officially dissolved the next day, paving the way for national elections on May 21.

Mitsotakis, who will end his term in July, announced new elections for May 21 in March.He called on voters to look to other countries that have been caught in a cycle of elections that have produced no clear winner and left them without governments.

The 55-year-old followed in the footsteps of his late father, former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, and he remained popular during his term. However, Mitsotakis’ government has recently faced pressure over its handling of a deadly train crash. Saddled with problems like high inflation and food prices, a wiretapping scandal and other issues, his party is far from certain to win the elections.

Mitsotakis is seeking a second term in the election. His center-right New Democracy party is leading in opinion polls but suggest he is unlikely to achieve an outright victory.Mitsotakis’ conservative New Democracy (ND) party will face off against its main opposition, the leftist Syriza party which led the government from 2015 to 2019, under former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The vote will take place under a new proportional representation system in the 300-seat Hellenic Parliament — posing difficulties for any party to gather a majority and making two rounds of voting likely. The runoff election would probably take place in July.For the first time, Greeks living abroad will be able to exercise their right to vote in their place of residence, provided they meet the criteria set out in the relevant legislation.