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The Greek Electoral System: Stable or Unstable?

Back in May, I wrote on this blog (click here) how the Greek electoral system created further instability in Greece. Although Greek elections are proportional, the largest party is awarded a top-up of 50 seats out of 300. Usually this would guarantee the largest party a majority on its own but in May 2012 it made the situation even more unstable. Without it, two coalitions could have formed (either a left wing government including Socialists and Communists - or an anti-austerity government, including Communists and Conservatives in ANEL but excluding the Socialists), whereas no government was possible so new elections were held.

What was the effect of the 50-seat top-up in June 2012? It allowed New Democracy to form a government with the Socialists (total 162 seats out of 300). To this was added Democratic Left (DIMAR), a small anti-austerity party. Without the top-up, an alternative left-wing government, including the Socialists, DIMAR, Syriza and the Communists would have been the only possibility. So maybe the 50-seat top-up creates stability after all, even if this was not the case in May 2012. An important feature of the top-up is that it attracts tactical voting to the detriment of smaller parties, making it all the more difficult for the Socialists to recover. Between May and June 2012, it became obvious that two contenders for power were New Democracy and Syriza. Their vote increased substantially at the expense of most of the other parties.

 

Table: Greek election results of 2012 compared



June 2012 elections

May 2012 elections

Party

Party type

% vote

Seats

% vote

seats

KKE

Communist

4.5

12

8.5

26

Syriza

Radical Left

26.9

71

16.6

52

Dimar

Radical Left

6.3

17

6.1

19

PASOK

Socialist

12.3

33

13.2

41

ND

Centre-Right

29.7

79+50

18.9

58+50

ANEL

Right

7.5

20

10.6

33







XA

Neo-Nazi

6.9

18

7.0

21

 

Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012 at 10:04PM by Registered CommenterDr Giacomo Benedetto | CommentsPost a Comment

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