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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 September 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 23 GREECE Greek party leaders prior to a television debate at the studios of Greek state broadcaster ERT. An opinion poll over the weekend showed that no party is projected to gain enough votes for an outright parliamentary majority, signalling coalition talks may be needed. Coalition talks may be needed On September 20, Greeks will head to the polls to elect a new government for the fourth time in six years. After only eight months in office, the leftist party leader, SYRIZA's Alexis Tsipras, resigned earlier last month. Three bailouts, two referendums and six prime ministers down the line, Greeks are called to choose again who they want to run their debt-ridden country. The party leaders traded barbs Wednesday night as they went head-to-head in a televised debate. Looking to win over undecided voters, the politicians blamed each other for the country's economic crisis. CNBC takes a look at the politicians who believe they can finally take the country out of crisis. SYRIZA: ALEXIS TSIPRAS Politics: Started out as radical leftist, but has moved towards the centre-left Latest polls: 26.5 per cent Who is he: Tsipras was elected prime minister during a snap election on 25 January on the promise of tearing up the previous bailout deals, so that the Greeks wouldn't have to endure any more austerity. Having never been in power, 41-year-old Tsipras was immune to people's anger towards the old political system and corruption, which he vowed to fight. Pitfalls: After failing to reach an agreement with Greece's creditors, Tsipras called for a referendum in July on the latest deal offered by their lenders. Despite a resounding ‘NO’, three days later the Greek government asked the eurozone for a new three-year bailout with tougher terms than the Greek voters had said no to. NEW DEMOCRACY: EVANGELOS MEIMARAKIS Politics: Centre-right Latest polls: 26 per cent Who is he: A former defence minister and parliament speaker, Meimarakis has been the provisional leader of New Democracy since former prime minister Antonis Samaras resigned in July. Despite his criticism of Tsipras, Meimarakis said recently he would cooperate with SYRIZA in a wider coalition. Pitfalls: A member of Greece's old guard. Meimarakis joined the conservative party in 1974 and has been a member of parliament since 1989, and belongs to a generation of politicians that the Greek public has become disillusioned with. PASOK: FOFI GENNIMATA Politics: Centre-left, social liberal Latest polls: 6.5 per cent Who is she: Gennimata succeeded former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos as leader of PASOK this year. She is running on a joint ticket with the Democratic Left, a SYRIZA breakaway party that was part of the 2012 coalition government. Pitfalls: The daughter of one of the founding members of the PASOK party, she belongs to the old political elite. PASOK, once one of the two major Greek political parties, lost its popularity after signing two bailouts. During January's elections the party just made it into parliament with 4.7 per cent of the vote. COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE: DIMITRIS KOUTSOUMPAS Politics: Far-left, communist Latest polls: 6 per cent Who is he: Koutsoumpas was elected Secretary General of the Communist party of Greece in 2013. He started his career as a member of the Communist Youth and has risen through the party's ranks. Pitfalls: The Communist Party traditionally does not collaborate with any other party or compromise in its hard left views. It is adamantly against any labour reform. TO POTAMI: STAVROS THEODORAKIS Politics: Centre, social democratic Latest polls: 5.5 per cent Who is he: A journalist by trade, Stavros Theodorakis founded his party To Potami (The River) before the European Parliament elections of 2014, hoping to fill a gap in Greek politics left by the waning popularity of mainstream, pro-bailout parties PASOK and New Democracy. Pitfalls: As a formerly wellpaid TV presenter, Theodorakis represents the traditional media that many Greek voters think is biased and corrupt. POPULAR UNITY: PANAGIOTIS LAFAZANIS Politics: Radical left, anti-euro Latest polls: 3.5 per cent Who is he: A minister for ‘productive reconstruction, environment and energy’ in Tsipras' cabinet, Lafazanis led a group of dissenters within SYRIZA. He broke away from the party to form his new party supporting the return to a national currency. Former parliament speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou joined him. In his TV campaign ad he gets in a cab and when the driver asks for the destination, he replies: 'To the national mint'. Pitfalls: Lafazanis stalled most of Greece's privatisation deals that were a condition of the bailout deal. He supports a Grexit without stressing the impact this will have on Greeks' buying power. INDEPENDENT GREEKS: PANOS KAMMENOS Politics: Right, national-conservative Latest polls: 2 per cent Who is he: Tsipras' coalition partner in the last government, Kammenos stars in a TV ad for his electoral campaign, where he picks up a child named ‘Alexis’ from the hospital after he has broken his left arm - in a none-too-subtle reference to SYRIZA's Tsipras. This is a follow-up from his 2012 campaign where he was telling the same kid to be careful, while he was playing with a toy train. A former New Democracy MP, Kammenos is trying to present himself as the balancing power in the SYRIZA-led coalition government. Pitfalls: A right-wing national-conservative, Kammenos has made racist comments on TV against other religions and has stated that “Greece is governed by German neo-Nazis”. OTHER PARTIES Fascist party Golden Dawn's leader Nikos Mihaloliakos, who is ranked at 6.5 per cent in the latest polls, did not participate in the debate after the other political leaders refused to share a platform. Some of Golden Dawn’s candidates are currently undergoing trial for criminal acts. Another leader who was not there is Union of Centrists leader Vassilis Leventis, who is currently not in parliament, but seems like he is going to be elected ranking 3.5 per cent in latest polls. The 64-year old cult politician has become famous from his TV shows, during which he used populist loud language.
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