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Elections and Parties in Greece*


IN THE SEVEN YEARS SINCE THE FALL OF THE COLONELS' dictatorship in Greece, a new Greek party has established firm political roots. With the accession of Greece to the European Community on 1 January 1981, the new parties have been brought into the Western European political orbit, a development which marks the rehabilitation of a political system ostracized by virtue of its period of dictatorship. Unlike Portugal and Spain, however, which also seek membership of the European Community, the Greek period of dictatorship – lasting seven years post-war – represents much more an historical aberration, for Greece not only has an ancient history which saw the birth of democratic government, it also has enjoyed far more democratic than dictatorial governments in its modern period.

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1 For a discussion of the three systems see Linz Juan, ‘Europe’s Southern Frontier: Evolving Trends Toward What?', in Daedalus, Vol. 108, No. 1, Winter 1978.

2 Amongst those that have been published see: Dobratz B. A. and Kourvetaris G. A.,'Electoral Voting Preferences and Political Orientations of Athenians in Greece: A Three‐Perspective Model', European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 9 (1981), pp. 287307; Epikentra, May 1981 (annual English edition of bi‐monthly journal), Centre for Political Research and Information, Athens; Kapetanyannis B., ‘The Making of Greek Eurocommunism’, Political Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 4, 10–12. 1979 ; Legg K., Politics in Modem Greece, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1969; Mouzelis N., ‘On the Greek Elections’, New Left Review, 108, (59–74), 1978; Schlegel D., ‘The Antipodes in Greek Politics’, in Aussenpolitik, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1978; and last but not least Clogg R., A Short History of Modem Greece, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1979.

3 D. Schlegel, op. cit.

4 In 1980, a major party crisis in Thessalonika resulted in the expulsion of several hundred members.

5 On PASOK, see article by Andrianopoulos A. in Epikentra, op. cit.; Kaptanyannis V., ‘The theoretical and political meaning of the debate on PASOK’, Politis, 05 1978.

6 New Statesman, 11 July 1980.

7 The Times, 15 December 1980.

8 For party manifesto statements, see briefing sheets distributed by Greek Press and Information Office, London.

9 Statement made in 1977 manifesto.

10 New Statesman, 11 July 1980.

11 See J. C. Loulis, ‘The Greek Conservative Movement in Transition: From Paternalism to Neo‐Liberalism?’, in The New Liberalism: The future of Non‐Collectivist Institutions in Europe and the U. S. (Report on a symposium in Athens, May 1981, organized by the Centre for Political Research and Information and published by them.)

12 R. Clogg, op. cit.

13 Quoted by J. C. Loulis, ‘The Greek Conservative Movement’, op. cit. Discussion here relies, in part, on this article.

14 The election of Rallis, rather than Averoff, in May 1980, was a sign of a desire for continued moderation on the part of New Democracy.

15 Quoted by D. Schlegel, op. cit.

16 The Times, 15 December 1980.

17 An interesting comparison could be produced by comparing the areas supporting Centre Union in 1963 and 1964 and PASOK in 1981. Though, given the considerable demographic changes that have occurred since then, such an analysis would be highly problematic.

18 The analysis of Athenians' voting behaviour produced by B. A. Dobratz and G. A. Kourvetaris (op. cit.), suggests that ‘the social class variables of education and occupation do not play important roles in explaining the individual’s voting' (p. 299), though income may do so. Their analysis suggests that clientelism, family and close friends may be much more important in Greece than in Northern Europe or the USA.

19 I am grateful to D. K. Katsoudas for having raised this point with me. For an economic analysis of Greek relations with the EEC, see the article by Georgakopoulos T. A. in The Three Banks Review, No. 128, 12 1980.

* The author would like to express his sincere gratitude for the invaluable help and advice extended to him by D. K. Katsoudas and F. Komninos (of the Centre for Political Research and Information, Athens), and the Greek Press and Information office, London

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
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