ATHENS, Greece ― With the Sept. 20 snap elections fast approaching and the future of Greece up in the air, some small parties are hoping they can finally have a say in shaping the country’s political landscape.
Former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned in August after the implosion of his Syriza party over the terms of the bailout deal with Greece’s creditors in Brussels. As the country struggles through yet another pre-election period, just eight months after the January elections that brought Syriza into power, several small parties that have never managed to pass the 3 percent electoral threshold are hoping it might finally be their turn.
In total, 19 parties, five of them coalitions, are running in the upcoming elections. Take a look at the small parties that have grabbed the spotlight in recent weeks:
Union of Centrists
The Union of Centrists was founded in 1992 by Vasilis Leventis, one of Greece’s perpetual political also-rans. The party sought to depict itself as the continuation of the historical Center Union party, which was founded by former Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou Sr. in 1961 and dissolved in 1974. The party also claims to follow in the footsteps of Eleftherios Venizelos, who led Greece’s Liberal party in the early 20th century and is considered to be one of the country’s most important statesmen.
The fight against corruption is the Union of Centrists’ main rallying cry. The party has proposed a number of political measures aimed at freeing the public sector from partisan interference and turning “lazy” public servants out of office.
Leventis has hosted his own political commentary show since the 1990s, and with his colorful language and tirades against the establishment parties, he cuts a figure quite unlike that of a traditional politician. Although he has never made it to Greece’s Parliament, polls suggest that this time he might finally meet the all-important 3 percent threshold.
In the following campaign ad for the Union of Centrists, Leventis walks in on a goldbricking public servant and hands him a party program, accompanied by a redemptive guitar solo:
United Popular Front (EPAM)
The United Popular Front was launched in summer 2011 amid Athens' Indignant Citizens movement, which grew out of anti-bailout protests.
The party received less than 1 percent of the general vote in May 2012, but it's making another appearance in the September elections. Headed by economist Dimitris Kazakis, EPAM calls for Greece to exit the eurozone and return to a national currency, effectively writing off its own debt.
The party's rhetoric combines elements from the radical Left with references to “Greek sovereignty” and the effort to restore national dignity, tropes that are reminiscent of more nationalist party platforms.
Founded in March 2012, Creation Again! describes itself as a party with a “pro-European” and “reformative” orientation. Its president is Thanos Tzimeros, a marketing consultant who boasts that the party includes all kinds of professionals who do not aspire to be career politicians. In terms of policy, Creation Again! is generally seen as a neoliberal group, taking stances in support of the free-market economy, privatization and conditions that favor entrepreneurship.
Tzimeros himself often makes the news thanks to his incendiary statements against other parties. He's been especially aggressive toward Tsipras, accusing the former prime minister of destroying the country.
Creation Again! received an average of 2 percent of the vote in the parliamentary double election of 2012.
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