By Antonis Anzoletou

No one remembers the first European elections despite the fact that they were historic because of Greece’s “premier” in Brussels. The reason is simple. They took place in 1981 together with the triumphant victory of PASOK with 48.06%, so they were overshadowed. Andreas Papandreou also won in these polls with 40.12% taking 10 seats, followed by New Democracy with 31.34% and 8 seats, KKE 3, KKE Esoterikou, KODISO and the Progressive Party with 1 seat each. Unique similarity to today 43 years later? The fragmentation of the Left.

In 1984, the second European elections were held, this time preceding the national elections. Evangelos Averof for New Democracy (38.05%) fails to defeat the all-powerful PASOK (41.58%) and resigns giving his place to Konstantinos Mitsotakis. He did not count the fact that he managed to increase the percentage of the blue faction. As in this year’s, the polls that gave the ticket for Brussels were always of great interest when they preceded the parliamentary elections. It was the best poll on the basis of which the political forces readjusted their strategy. Contrasting today, with whatever similarities there are, Stefanos Kasselakis, if he does not manage to achieve a good percentage for SYRIZA, has declared that he does not intend to resign from the presidency, contrary to what Evangelos Averof did.

In June 1989, they are held for the second time together with the national and European elections. The New Democracy now has the primacy, but again the European ballot box takes second place, as the country is unable to form a government due to the system of simple proportional representation. Two more election contests will follow.

A small resemblance to today exists in the European elections of 1994. About a year after its return to power, PASOK is called upon to confirm its primacy. And he succeeds. It finishes first with a percentage of 37.6% and 10 seats, with New Democracy second with 32.6% and 9 seats. They are followed by: Political Spring 8.6% (2 seats), KKE 6.2% (2 seats), SYANASPISMOS 6.2% (2 seats). The big difference is the still existence of the strong bipartisanship that will be maintained until 2009. The memoranda and the financial crisis will change everything.

On June 13, 1999, Kostas Karamanlis, as leader of New Democracy, wins the first battle he fights in the European elections, cutting the thread first with a percentage of 36%. It is followed by the PASOK of Kostas Simitis with 32.9%. The great proof that the Euro-election has elements of laxity or a vote of protest towards the government is that a year later PASOK wins the elections again, remaining in power. The story continues and always has surprises in store. In June 2004 New Democracy wins the European elections without difficulty. In PASOK there is a “murmur” about George Papandreou, who suffered his second defeat as the leader of the movement. In June 2009, however, it did not happen that 10 years ago. PASOK wins the European elections with a difference of four points from New Democracy and paves the way for the return to power in October of the same year. Five years later, after SYRIZA has taken the “sceptre” from Harilaou Trikoupi and has spent 2012 in the official opposition, it wins the European elections, paving the way for Megaros Maximos a year later. He gets a percentage of 26.57% compared to 22.72% of the New Democracy of Antonis Samaras.

The last European elections were held in May 2019 with the winner once again sending the message that a change of baton in the government is coming. Kyriakos Mitsotakis (33.12%) wins over Alexis Tsipras (23.75%), showing that the July elections that would follow would be a formal procedure. And that’s how it happened. Epimythium: the European elections have always been a reliable tool for safe political conclusions especially when the national polls followed in a short period of time. In June 2024 the parties will pass an important “test”, however until the summer of 2027 there is still a long way to go.