On Sunday, 21st of May, the Greek primary national elections will take place. There is little to no surprises to be expected for these elections, as the polls indicate similar results to the previous elections of 2019, but maybe there is a glimmer of hope.
The last four years
New Democracy, which is the neoliberal conservative government, has had much turmoil and scandal to deal with during its last 4 years of governance. The country suffered a very high death rate during the pandemic, with the collapse of the already weakened national health system. The wiretapping scandal revealed that many journalists, ministers, the President of PASOK and even the chief of National Defense were under surveillance with illegal software, Predator. Many social groups saw their rights reduced, such as artists. Furthermore, police brutality has ben prominent throughout the entirety of the last four years. The state of the country state is evident in the global press freedom index by Reporters without Borders, in which Greece is ranked in 107 place. There were also many human rights violations that were recorded by international organisations especially towards asylum seekers, such as push-backs in the Aegean and the prosecutions of human rights defenders.
Greece is still suffering from the austerity measures and the memorandum imposed by the European Union and the banks, adding to this is high inflation, a 69% increase in military spending over the last decade, a huge national debt, and the increasing privatization of public assets and services.
The main parties in these elections, apart from the party in power, are SYRIZA, the left-wing party that was the previous government, PASOK, the socialist party, MeRA25, the left-wing party which is part of DiEM25, and Greek Solution, a far-right populist party.
According to the new electoral laws, the primary elections will be based on a proportional system. Failing to form a government the country will go to secondary elections that will be based on a majority system, where the first party will have an extra bonus to have the majority in the Hellenic Parliament. Until now, all parties are ruling out the possibility of a coalition government, so maybe the most likely scenario is that there will be a second round of elections after a couple of months. But we still have to wait and see.
Marianella Kloka, from Pressenza, parliamentary candidate.
In this grim political landscape, there are people who still believe in and work towards social transformation. One of them is Marianella Kloka,* the chief editor of Pressenza Athens, who has decided to be a candidate for the first time with MeRA25 in the electoral district of West Attica. She hopes, as she says, that ordinary people who are not professional politicians, should have a public voice and bring change wherever they can. Ιn her electoral campaign she runs for a quality of life and the collective conscience.
In a video she advocates for the abolition of nuclear weapons, calling the Greek government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
We asked Marianella why she decided to be a candidate in these elections, and she replied:
“In the upcoming national elections, I am candidate with Yanis Varoufakis and the MeRA25 political party. I have accepted the invitation for two reasons:
- The party included in its agenda: a) the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the need to be signed and ratified by the Greek Parliament· b) a universal basic income.
- MeRA25 is part of the European DiEM25 and of the Progressive International. I believe that world challenges need international responses.
Greece comes from a very conservative period of governance, and we need a glimmer of hope.”
In the upcoming elections, there is a high percentage of people who are still not decided who they will vote for, if they will vote at all. The frustration with the previous government is one the reasons people have lost their trust in the political system. Maybe, more activation and more participation in the political scene can be a way out, supporting people who will truly represent us and not rule us, and at the same time demanding direct democracy.
* Marianella Kloka has worked on social issues and their impact on human beings for over three decades. She has organized and participated in health mission in Africa and Asia. She is working in the field of journalism for peace, nonviolence and human rights through the international Press Agency, Pressenza. She is working in rights advocacy and training of civil society organisations. She was part of the Athens Pride organization committee and an editor in one of the first and most influential LGBTQI+ magazines.