Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had tried to soften his message. He needed to give the impression that Syriza, which managed to make inroads with voters outraged by the debt crisis almost a decade ago, had already integrated itself into the Greek party system and had serious options to aspire to contest victory from the conservatives in New Democracy. The most optimistic polls gave them more than 30% of the vote, a result similar to what they got in 2019. But the polls were wrong. Tsipras has secured only 20% of the vote, leaving himself with 11 points in the last four years, and has shown the limits of that formation that had inspired other radical left forces such as Podemos or Jean-Luc Mélenchon's Insubmisa.
The defeat of Syriza has been enormous. So much so, that some analysts predict that in the repeat election that could be held on June 25, there is a risk of being in third place or tied with the social democrats of Pasok, whom they had managed to corner after Greece was shaken by the climate of protests against the wage and pension cuts imposed by the international community. Now, Nikos Andrulakis' Pasok has won some of the more moderate voters disenchanted with Syriza, finishing third with 11.5% of the vote.
"The electoral dynamics point towards this trajectory. When you lose ten points in an election it is easy to break down completely. It is enough for Pasok to recover 5% of the votes that Syriza had taken," predicts Stathis Kalivas, a professor at the University of Oxford.
During these last four years, Tsipras's problems have been diverse. The first, which, although it modified the electoral law so that it was proportional - as has happened in these elections - and favored a progressive coalition, has not made great efforts to dialogue with the other left-wing forces. In fact, its voters went to the polls without it being clear which parties could be part of this pact. Moreover, although it has turned its message towards moderation, some of Syriza's members have continued with the spirit of protest, showing the "contradictory nature of the party", according to Kalivas. Syriza has also failed to create a political machinery in the territory. Many mayors or local union representatives are still socialists. A concrete example is on the island of Crete, where in half of the constituencies Pasok has overtaken Syriza. The social democratic formation has a huge opportunity to re-emerge in the next elections.
Despite all this, the majority of Greek voters have shown that they care much more about the economic issue, which has been reasonably well managed by the conservatives in recent years, than about the latest scandals surrounding Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis, especially the espionage one from the secret services to politicians and journalists or the recent train crash. Greece's growth is on pace to outpace the eurozone average, foreign investment has increased and debt has fallen 35 percentage points over the past two years.
With this result, the question is whether Tsipras wants to keep trying or whether his position at the head of Syriza is called into question. Experts say it's not something that has to happen imminently. "It is too soon because they cannot go to the next electoral battle without a leader and there is no second one who is ready", explains the Greek political scientist Takis Pappas. At the moment, everything indicates that another electoral campaign awaits him, although this time much more complicated.