Greece’s new lawmakers have been sworn in just over a week after a general election that saw a number of smaller fringe parties from the right and left of the political spectrum enter Parliament for the first time
Greece’s new lawmakers were sworn in Monday, just over a week after a general election that saw a number of smaller fringe parties from the right and left of the political spectrum enter Parliament for the first time.
The 300 members of parliament were inducted during a religious ceremony after the June 25 elections returned conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to power for a second four-year term in a landslide victory, crushing the left-wing opposition Syriza party and prompting opposition leader Alexis Tsipras to announce his resignation.
Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party now holds a comfortable parliamentary majority, with 158 seats compared to Syriza’s 48.
Three far-right parties and one representing the far left reached the 3% minimum threshold for parliamentary seats. Only one of them has been in Parliament before.
On the right of the political spectrum, two newly-appearing parties are the Spartans and the ultra-religious Niki party.
The Spartans, who won 4.7% in the election and hold 12 parliamentary seats, are led by Vassilis Stigas and backed by jailed Ilias Kasidiaris, a former prominent member of the now-outlawed Golden Dawn party that had neo-Nazi origins and connections to multiple violent attacks targeting migrants and left-wing political activists.
Tougher regulations were introduced on election eligibility to block Kasidiaris from running as a candidate from inside prison. A party he had founded from behind bars was disqualified, and he switched his support to the Spartans.
Niki, or Victory, with just under 3.7% of the vote, holds 10 seats and is led by 58-year-old primary school teacher and theologian Dimitrios Natsios. It draws support from the fringes of the powerful Greek Orthodox church and gained a following over its opposition to the COVID-19 vaccination program.
The third fringe right-wing party is Elliniki Lysi, or Greek Solution, which returned to Parliament with 4.4% of the vote and 12 seats. It is led by Kyriakos Velopoulos, known for his Greek regional television station broadcasts focused on historical and religious themes and alternative therapies.
On the left, Plefsi Eleftherias, or Passage to Freedom, sailed into Parliament with just enough votes to meet the threshold, 3.17%, earning eight seats. It is led by Zoe Konstantopoulou, a former Syriza member who used to be the parliament speaker.
Known for her fondness for marathon parliamentary sessions when she was directing the debates, the 46-year-old lawyer announced on election night that although her party had won only eight seats, “I am worth 100, and the others are each worth another 20.”
Source: Abc News