May 31, 2019
Still shocked about the devastating defeat of 9.3% difference in the European elections, ruling left-wing SYRIZA tries to understand what went wrong and to design a strategy for the snap general elections on July 7, 2019.
Party officials have been holding a meeting after meeting in an attempt spot the reasons of the defeat despite the so-called ‘relief measures” with an extra bonus for pensioners, increased pensions for widows, decrease of Value Added Tax for more than 5,000 items on the supermarket shelves, the 120-installment settlement for debtors to the state and others that were implemented short before the elections. Earlier measures like the increase of the minimum wage since February seems to have gone unnoticed by the voters, especially the young ones.
Some party officials blame the “communications strategy” stressing that the “extra bonus for pensioners turned into a boomerang instead of bringing positive elections results.
Sadly, the ruling party does not seem to understand what went wrong and is lacking of self-criticism.
“The citizens did not understand what they voted,” state minister for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris kept saying also on Friday. In the same wave-length also Transportation minister Christos Spirtzis who said that the measures were released short before the elections and “citizens did not have time to realize how they benefited from them.”
Also government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos underestimated the voters’ perception abilities saying that “citizens did not realize the benefits of the exit from the bailout agreement” in August.
Other party officials including current and former ministers say that one part of the problem was the “arrogance” displayed by some ministers, the opening to members of KINAL/PASOK as well as that the party failed to address the problems of the middle-class.
Others blamed the anti-SYRIZA front during the pre-elections campaign.
General Secretary Panos Skourletis stressed that main reason for the defeat was that “SYRIZA was forced to implement policies foreign to the party ideology, policies that were product of a compromise.”
Referring to the attitude and the behavior of some cabinet ministers – clearly implying Alternate health Minister Pavlos Polakis – he said that this was “the cause for misunderstanding that fed the propaganda of political opponents.”
Some party members blamed also the public opinion poll company hired by the government. The company allegedly was feeding the Prime Minister and the party with false projections.
No matter what party and government officials believe, fact is that SYRIZA is entering the elections race with empty hands as it has no more benefits and handouts to offer. In this sense, SYRIZA is on the same level with New Democracy. Both parties can only make promises hoping the voters will buy them.