Greece’s main opposition leader to step down after defeat

Leader of New Democracy announces his intentions to resign from post after losing to Syriza Party during Greece’s recent snap elections

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Conservative New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis talk to the media after voting for the general election in Athens, Greece

The leader of the conservative New Democracy Party (NDP), Vangelis Meimarakis, indicated on Tuesday that he was willing to step down from his post, following the party’s defeat to the leftist Syriza Party during Sunday’s snap elections.

The first candidate that put his name in the hat was lawmaker Kyriakos Mitsotakis, known to be from one of Greece's most influential political families, announced his intentions to run for the post through his Twitter feed.

His father Constantinos Mitsotakis served as prime minister from 1990 to 1993 and his older sister, Dora Bakoyianni, was the foreign minister from 2006 to 2009.

The NDP was defeated by 7 percent, receiving 28 percent of the votes while Syriza got 35 percent, allowing Alexis Tsipras to form a coalition with the Independent Greeks Party, returning Syriza's leader to his former post as prime minister.

Meimarakis assumed post as Party leader in July after former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, quit, in response to a strong "No" vote in a referendum, regarding whether Greece should accept the terms of a third international bailout plan.

Political analyst Theodore Couloumbis stated that a perceived lack of charisma could have placed Meimarakis at a disadvantage, but then added "I would, however, make the reverse assumption and put the emphasis on Tsipras, who is younger, better-looking and articulate."

The inaccuracy of the polls reflected the predicament of measuring a gut feeling rather than a carefully considered opinion, Couloumbis argued.

"A lot of people assume voters act rationally, [but polling] is a bit like weather forecasting, more of an art than a science."

He continued saying that a rational voter could have reached the assumptions that "Tsipras came to power in January and has made a mess since," but the unexpected readiness to give him a second chance suggested something more emotional.

"We are moving more and more towards a political scene in which personality is again emerging, Tsipras is seen to be leading a personal party."

The New Democracy Party, which ruled Greece by itself from 2004 to 2009, strongly protested its first two international bailouts.

Following its victory in the June 2012 parliamentary election, the party formed a coalition with the socialist PASOK as its main partner, the coalition then implemented economic reforms that were a requirement for the bailouts, before being ousted at the polls by Syriza last January.


TRTWorld and agencies