Political Parties in Greece

political parties in greece

Under the current electoral system, a party needs to surpass a 3% threshold in the popular vote in order to enter parliament. In the last Parliamentary elections, held in 2007, five political parties entered parliament in Greece:

In the two-party system which characterizes the Greek political system, the dominant parties are New Democracy and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement.

N.D. – New Democracy

New Demokratia was founded two months after Konstantinos Karamanlis was sworn-in as the first prime minister in the post-dictatorship Era in Greece (July 1974) . The vast majority of Greeks trusted New Democrasy for the permanent restoration of democracy and for fulfilling their aspirations for a better future.

In the first free elections of the new era, Nea Demokratia won by a landslide, securing 54.37% of the vote (November 1974).

In 1977, New Democracy won again the national elections and two years later, the first Party Conference took place, in what became the first fully democratic and modern conference of a political party in Greece. The dominant ideology of the party was defined as “radical liberalism”, a term connoting the prevalence of free market rules with the decisive intervention of the state in favor of social justice.

On March 7th, 2004, New Demokracy won the national elections by a percentage of 45.36%, thus securing a parliamentary majority of 164 seats over a total of 300. Three days later, Kostas Karamanlis was sworn-in as Prime Minister and Minister of Culture.

On September 16, 2007, Kostas Karamanlis won re-election with a diminished majority in parliament, and stated: “Thank you for your trust. You have spoken loud and clear and chosen the course the country will take in the next few years.” George Papandreou, main opposition socialist party PASOK, accepted defeat (New Democracy party with 41.84%, and opposition party PASOK had 38.1%)

PASOK – Panhellenic Socialist Movement

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement, better known as PASOK, is a Greek social democratic political party. In 1981 PASOK formed the first socialist government in Greece’s history, and subsequently ruled the country for most of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

Panhellenic Socialist Movement has served as the main opposition party since the general election of 2004. It is a member of the Party of European Socialists and the Socialist International.

Panhellenic Socialist Movement was established on September 3, 1974 following the restitution of Greek democracy after the fall of Greece’s military dictatorship of 1967-1974. Its founder was Andreas Papandreou, son of the late Greek centrist leader George Papandreou. Its founding mottos were “National Independence, Popular Sovereignty, Social Emancipation, Democratic Process.”

K.K.E. – Communist Party Of Greece

The Communist Party of Greece was founded in November 1918, as working class consciousness grew and the revolutionary theory of Marxism- Leninism spreader in our country, With only short periods of legal operation, Communist Party of Greece was form from that time on until September 1974 banned and forced to work under conditions of clandestinity.

Expressing the historical tasks of working class and other strata of working people, Communist Party of Greece has set the revolutionary transformation of Greek society through the elimination of Greek society through the elimination of capitalism and the building of socialism and communism as its ultimate goal.

After a fascist dictatorship was established under general Metaxas in 1936, Greek Communists were imprisoned or exiled to barren islands, but when Mussolini attacked the country in 1940 they – with the Greek people – voiced a resounding «NO» to the invaders and fought in the front lines to stop them. Greece was then occupied by Hitler’s Nazi troops in the spring of 1941, and the Communist Party of Greeceb became the mainstay of the National Resistance, organizing and leading it with EAM and ELAS, which represented the overwhelming majority of the Greek people, providing a beaconof hope for a better and more just future.

After the restoration of parliamentary democracy in 1974, Constantine Karamanlis legalised the KKE hoping to reclaim “a vital part of national memory”.

In 1944, Communist Party of Greece participated in the national unity government of George Papandreou, holding the positions of Minister of Finance, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Labor, Minister of National Economy and Public Works, and Deputy Minister of Finance.

Communist Party of Greece youth organization is the Communist Youth of Greece, KNE, which closely supports KKE’s goals and strategic targets.

SYRIZA – Coalition of the Left and Progress

Coalition of the Left and Progress is a new left party, which was founded in June 1992. Its name “Synaspismos” or SYRIZA has been retained from its previous structure, which was a coalition of left and progressive parties and groups that was formed in 1989. The transformation was decided in 1991 after the CP of Greece (KKE) split from the Coalition. The name of the party was amended on 1 June 2003 and since that date Coalition of the Left and Progress is the “Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology”.

Coalition of the Left and Progress identifies itself with the ideas and values of democratic socialism, ecology, feminism and anti-militarism. It believes in pluralism and considers the defense of human rights non-negotiable.

The Party’s regular Congress is held every three years, electing a Central Political Committee (CPC). The Congress elects the Party President and the CPC elects a Political Secretariat. On major issues the party members decide directly (e.g. the lists for national and European elections are composed through secret ballot among the members).

The Party is closely related with the Youth League of Synaspismos


LA.O.S. – Popular Orthodox Rally

The Popular Orthodox Rally often abbreviated to LA.O.S. as a pun on the Greek word for people, is a Greek nationalist/radical right-wing populist political party, founded and led by controversial journalist Georgios Karatzaferis. Karatzaferis formed LAOS in 2000, after he was expelled from New Democracy.

According to the Popular Orthodox Rally, “the demarcation of the political world in the Right Wing and the Left Wing is not relevant anymore after the end of the Cold War. Nowadays, everyone in every aspect of his or her everyday life is either in favour or against Globalization”. The party claims to consist of radically diverse groups that span the entire Left-Right political spectrum.

The party received 3.8% of the vote in the 2007 elections, electing 10 members of parliament. Previously, the party failed to reach the 3% threshold of the popular vote in the 2004 elections, with 2.2%; three months later it gained 4.12% of the vote and one seat in the 2004 European Parliamentary Elections.

The Popular Orthodox Rally claims to defy traditional ideological characterizations. Throughout its existence the party has been characterized by the press and media as “far-right”, “populist”, “right-wing” and “nationalist”.

Karatzaferis has described the party as everything from a “pre-dictatorship Right” to a merger of Left and Right to a “Popular Liberalism” in official party literature. In addition, party leader Karatzaferis has claimed that the Popular Orthodox Rally is “a profoundly democratic party.” Karatzaferis has stated that he supports “patriotism and social solidarity, taking from all ideologies and personalities I like. I don’t care if it’s called communism, liberalism or socialism.

Read more about the Greek Political Parties:

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