Greek voters believe that the promises of the two main parties made before the elections will be empty and that there is no hope for change. Therefore, after a participation of only 42 percent in 2019, there are fears that it will decline further next Sunday.
Greek elections have always been a stir, with rowdy debates in restaurants or protests in the streets. But the mood this year is muted ahead of Sunday’s elections, with voters questioning the ability of the main parties to solve the economic problems plaguing the people.
Outgoing conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of New Democracy and leftist Alexis Tsipras of Syriza are vying for power.
“Our lives will not change the next day, whoever wins,” says Nikos Kalitzidis, 32, who works at a gas station in Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest city.
For Khrisa Papadimitriou, 43, there is “apathy and indifference among most voters this time.” “You don’t hear political debates like in the past, and most people avoid talking openly about who they will vote for,” she added.
Vassilis Kalivas, 55, an eyewear shop owner, says the lack of interest in the elections is mostly due to the feeling that there won’t be much change. Conversations with people show they are disappointed with both major parties.”
For her part, Stavroula (31 years old) says she will not vote. “What’s the point? Politicians lure us in with promises they won’t keep,” she added, accusing Mitsotakis and Tsipras of doing “nothing to improve the situation of the weakest.”
Fears of limited participation
With the abstention rate reaching 42 percent in the 2019 elections, analysts have warned that the number of people who will abstain may increase this time due to the apparent lack of interest.
Also, the possibility that Sunday’s elections will be inconclusive and require a second round due to the new electoral systems, contributes to some abstaining from voting, assuming that the vote will not be decisive. A second round is likely to take place in July.
In a sign that a possible second round could lead to more abstentions, the centre-right daily Ta Nya called on voters not to let that happen.
The level of apathy may be even higher among the 440,000 young Greek first-time voters who make up eight percent of the electorate.
Political analyst Maria Karakleumi at the statistics company “Ras” indicated that only one in four people between the ages of 17 and 24 voted in the last elections in 2019.