“On Sunday morning the ballot boxes will still be empty,” stresses Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. It is a line he often repeats on the campaign trail. What he means by this is no matter what the polls say, his supporters should not get discouraged.
Yet there is good reason for Greece’s ruling leftist party, Syriza, to be discouraged: The conservative Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy, or ND) has a clear lead in the polls.
That would make opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis the country’s next prime minister. And if things go as planned, he could even take over with a ruling majority. “We are fighting for every vote and we want to build a strong government so that Mitsotakis can quickly implement his campaign promises,” Konstantinos Kyranakis, an ND candidate in Athens, told DW.
But the game isn’t over yet. “I think we’ll win the parliamentary election, I simply refuse to give up hope,” Kostas Arvanitis, a newly elected Member of the European Parliament from the Syriza party, told DW. He believes polls today cannot be trusted: “Who would have thought Liverpool would beat Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League?”
But the joking stops when it is time to defend his own party’s policies: “Syriza finished its job, it ended austerity in Greece, and cleaned out the Augean stables,” says the former journalist in a thunderously confident tone. He says one of the “greatest successes” of the Tsipras government is the fact that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) no longer controls Greece’s finances. He calls it a “crime” that former PASOK party Prime Minister George Papandreou brought the IMF to Athens after the country’s debt crisis began.