Greek legislative election, September 2015

Greek legislative election, September 2015
20 September 2015

All 300 seats of the Hellenic Parliament
151 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Registered 9,840,525 Decrease1.1%
Turnout 5,566,295 (56.6%)
Decrease7.0 pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Alexis Tsipras Vangelis Meimarakis Nikolaos Michaloliakos
Leader since 9 February 2008 5 July 2015 1 November 1993
Leader's seat Heraklion Athens B Athens A
Last election 149 seats, 36.3% 76 seats, 27.8% 17 seats, 6.3%
Seats won 145 75 18
Seat change Decrease4 Decrease1 Increase1
Popular vote 1,925,904 1,526,205 379,581
Percentage 35.5% 28.1% 7.0%
Swing Decrease0.8 pp Increase0.3 pp Increase0.7 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Fofi Gennimata Dimitris Koutsoumpas Stavros Theodorakis
Leader since 14 June 2015 14 April 2013 26 February 2014
Leader's seat Athens B Athens B Thessaloniki A
Last election 13 seats, 5.2%[lower-alpha 1] 15 seats, 5.5% 17 seats, 6.1%
Seats won 17 15 11
Seat change Increase4 ±0 Decrease6
Popular vote 341,390 301,632 222,166
Percentage 6.3% 5.6% 4.1%
Swing Increase1.1 pp Increase0.1 pp Decrease2.0 pp

  Seventh party Eighth party
Leader Panos Kammenos Vassilis Leventis
Leader since 24 February 2012 2 March 1992
Leader's seat Athens B Athens B
Last election 13 seats, 4.8% 0 seats, 1.8%
Seats won 10 9
Seat change Decrease3 Increase9
Popular vote 200,423 186,457
Percentage 3.7% 3.4%
Swing Decrease1.1 pp Increase1.6 pp

Electoral districts won by

– Coalition of the Radical Left – New Democracy

Prime Minister before election

Vassiliki Thanou (interim)

Elected Prime Minister

Alexis Tsipras

The September 2015 Greek legislative election was held in Greece on Sunday, 20 September, following Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' announced resignation on 20 August.[1] At stake were all 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament. This was a snap election, the fourth since 2009, since new elections were not due until February 2019.[2]

The election resulted in an unexpectedly-large victory for Alexis Tsipras' Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which fell 6 seats short of an absolute majority and was able to reform its coalition government with the right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL). Opposition center-right New Democracy (ND) remained stagnant at 28% and 75 seats, despite pre-election opinion polls predicting a tie with Syriza or even opening the possibility of a ND government. Far-right Golden Dawn (XA) remained the third political force in the country rising slightly to 7%, while the PASOK-DIMAR Democratic Coalition rose to 4th place nationally, as a result of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) failure to increase its vote tally and Potami's collapse. The centrist EK entered Parliament for the first time in history, while Syriza-splinter group Popular Unity fell short of the required 3% threshold and did not win parliamentary representation.

Turnout was exceptionally low at 56.6%, the lowest ever recorded in a Greek legislative election since the restoration of democracy in 1974. Post-election analysis determined that voters' apathy and dissaffection with politics and weariness after being continuously called to the polls (this election marked the third vote throughout 2015, after the January 2015 election and the July 2015 referendum) were the most likely causes for the low turnout.[3]


Third bailout agreement

After several months of negotiations, on 12 July 2015, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras came to an agreement with lenders for a new ESM program. Greece will receive a loan of up to €86 billion, which will be received gradually from 2015 until June 2018, including a buffer of up to €25 billion for the banking sector. In return, Greece will have to streamline the VAT system and broaden the tax base to increase revenue, reform the pension system, safeguard the full legal independence of the Hellenic Statistical Authority, automatically cut public spending to generate primary surpluses, reform justice with a view to accelerate the judicial process and reduce costs, implement all OECD toolkit I recommendations, modernise labour market legislation, modernise and strengthen the Greek administration, revoke the laws passed by the Tsipras government counter to the February 20 agreement—except for the one concerning the "humanitarian crisis"— or identify clear compensatory equivalents for the vested rights that were subsequently created (e.g. for the rehiring of fired public servants), recapitalize the banks, and privatize 50 billion of state assets.[4] To help support growth and job creation in Greece up to 2020, the European Commission will help mobilise up to €35 billion to fund investment and economic activity, including in SMEs. The Investment Plan for Europe will also provide funding opportunities for Greece.[5]

On 14 August, after a rancorous all-night debate, the Hellenic Parliament backed the country's new bailout deal, although more than 40 MPs from Syriza either voted against the deal or abstained, and Tsipras had to rely on the support of three opposition parties: New Democracy, To Potami and PASOK.[6] Following the Parliament's decision, the Eurogroup welcomed the agreement between Greece and its lenders, and initiated the launching of the national procedures required for the approval of the new ESM program. These national procedures were concluded by 19 August, and Greece received the first disbursement of the initial tranche of up to €26 bn.[7]

Government's resignation and snap election

Although Tsipras passed the bailout agreement through the Parliament and did not face a no-confidence motion, the fact that 43 of Syriza's 149 MPs had either opposed the bailout or abstained meant that he had effectively lost his parliamentary majority. Therefore, on 20 August, following the first disbursement of the initial tranche of the third bailout agreement, Tsipras submitted the resignation of his government to Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the President of Greece. Tsipras asked Pavlopoulos for the earliest possible election date (20 September), and publicly argued that "the present Parliament cannot offer a government of majority or a national unity government." In a televised address to the Greek people, Tsipras recognised that he did not achieve the agreement he expected before the January elections. Following Tsipras' resignation, the Constitution required Pavlopoulos to ask the second- and third-largest party in Parliament to form a government.[8]

Some analysts' expectations that these two parties—and especially New Democracy—could waive their three-days exploratory mandate right to accelerate the procedures were not confirmed. Vangelis Meimarakis, the Leader of the Opposition, received the first exploratory mandate on 21 August, stating that he has the "political obligation and responsibility to exhaust all the options".[9] Failing to form a government, Meimarakis returned the mandate to the President on 24 August. The same day, Panagiotis Lafazanis, the president of the third-largest party in Parliament, the newly formed Popular Unity, was handed the third and final exploratory mandate. Popular Unity was founded on 21 August by 25 anti-austerity and anti-bailout MPs, who split from Syriza and were largely affiliated to the party's Left Platform.[10] After having failed to attract coalition partners for a new government, Lafazanis returned the mandate on 27 August. In a meeting with Pavlopoulos, Lafazanis asked the President to set a date for election no earlier than 27 September and to convene a council meeting of political leaders.[11] However, given that Syriza, the Independent Greeks and the Communist Party had made clear that they had no interest in participating in such a meeting, Pavlopoulos opted for entering into telephone consultations with each political leader individually. After the conclusion of these consultations, which proved to be fruitless, Pavlopoulos named Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou, President of the Court of Cassation (Areios Pagos), as interim prime minister, with the task of leading Greece to the elections.[12] On 28 August, Pavlopoulos issued a presidential decree for the dissolution of the Parliament and the holding of a snap legislative election on 20 September 2015.[13] The President's decision not to convene the council meeting of political leaders and to call the elections earlier than 27 September was fiercely criticised by Lafazanis; in an official statement, Popular Unity called the President's actions "a raw and provocative violation of both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution". However, other prominent politicians of the Opposition, such as PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos, who is also a Professor of Constitutional Law, suggested that Pavlopoulos acted within the rules and without violating the Constitution.[14]

Electoral system

All voters are required to vote, with registration being automatic and voting being mandatory.[15] However, none of the legally existing penalties or sanctions[16] have ever been enforced.[17]

250 seats are distributed on the basis of proportional representation, with a threshold of 3% required for entry into parliament. Blank and invalid votes, as well as votes cast for parties that fall short of the 3% threshold, are disregarded for seat allocation purposes. 50 additional seats are awarded as a majority bonus to the party that wins a plurality of votes, with coalitions in that regard not being counted as an overall party but having their votes counted separately for each party in the coalition, according to the election law. Parliamentary majority is achieved by a party or coalition of parties that command at least one half plus one (151 out of 300) of total seats.

Opinion polls


Graphical summary
Poll results

Poll results are listed in the table below in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first, and using the date the survey's fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. If such date is unknown, the date of publication is given instead. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed in bold, and the background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. The lead column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the two parties with the highest figures. When a specific poll does not show a data figure for a party, the party's cell corresponding to that poll is shown empty. The threshold for a party to elect members is 3%.

Seat projections

Opinion polls showing seat projections are displayed in the table below. The highest seat figures in each polling survey have their background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. 151 seats are required for an absolute majority in the Hellenic Parliament. 50 additional seats are awarded as a majority bonus to the single party winning the largest share of the votes.

Voting preferences

Polls shown below show the recording of raw responses for each party as a percentage of total responses before disregarding those who opted to abstain and prior to the adjusting for the likely votes of those who were undecided to obtain an estimate of vote share. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed in bold, and the background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance that there is a tie, then no figure is shaded. The "No party" columns includes blank and invalid ballots, as well as those respondents declaring their intention to abstain as well as those that remain undecided.


Summary of the 20 September 2015 Hellenic Parliament election results
Party Vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Won +/−
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) 1,926,526 35.46 Decrease0.88 145 Decrease4
New Democracy (ND) 1,526,205 28.09 Increase0.28 75 Decrease1
Popular Association-Golden Dawn (ΧΑ) 379,722 6.99 Increase0.71 18 Increase1
Democratic Coalition (PASOK-DIMAR)[lower-alpha 1] 341,732 6.29 Increase1.13 17 Increase4
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 301,684 5.55 Increase0.08 15 ±0
The River (Potami) 222,349 4.09 Decrease1.96 11 Decrease6
Independent Greeks-National Patriotic Alliance (ANEL) 200,532 3.69 Decrease1.06 10 Decrease3
Union of Centrists (EK) 186,644 3.44 Increase1.65 9 Increase9
Popular Unity (LAE) 155,320 2.86 New 0 ±0
Greek Anticapitalist Left-Workers Revolutionary Party (ANTARSYA-EEK) 46,183 0.85 Increase0.17 0 ±0
United Popular Front (EPAM) 41,626 0.77 New 0 ±0
Society (Koinonia) 35,594 0.65 New 0 ±0
Recreate Greece (DX) 28,909 0.53 New 0 ±0
Democrats-Society of Values-Pirate Party of Greece (D-KA-KPE) 15,282 0.28 New 0 ±0
Marxist–Leninist Communist Parties of Greece (KKE (m-l)/M-L KKE) 8,873 0.16 Increase0.03 0 ±0
Patriotic Union-Greek Popular Gathering (ELAS) 6,070 0.11 Increase0.03 0 ±0
Greek People's Democratic Liberation (ELLADA) 4,421 0.08 Increase0.05 0 ±0
Organisation of Communist Internationalists of Greece (OKDE) 2,433 0.04 Increase0.01 0 ±0
Organisation for the Reconstruction of the KKE (OAKKE) 2,230 0.04 New 0 ±0
Independent candidates 846 0.02 ±0.00 0 ±0
Total 5,431,850 100.00 300 ±0
Valid votes 5,431,850 97.58 Decrease0.06
Invalid ballots 70,061 1.26 Decrease0.55
Blank ballots 64,384 1.16 Increase0.61
Votes cast / turnout 5,566,295 56.57 Decrease7.05
Abstentions 4,274,230 43.43 Increase7.05
Registered voters 9,840,525
Source: Ministry of Interior
Vote share
Parliamentary seats


The governing party SYRIZA won the largest number of seats but fell short of an outright majority. However, the party resurrected its coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks, a minor party with which it had already formed a government after the January 2015 election. Centre-right New Democracy took the second-largest vote share, while far-right Golden Dawn was a fairly distant third. Popular Unity, the party formed by 26 MPs who had defected from SYRIZA in protest at the bailout, failed to reach the 3% threshold, and thus did not get any seats.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras hailed the result as a "victory of the people". He returned to the premiership after resigning earlier in the summer in order to force the new election. He told supporters in Athens that Greece would "continue the struggle we began seven months ago" when SYRIZA was first elected to government. New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis swiftly conceded after the election results began coming in, calling upon Tsipras "to create the government which is needed".[19] Tsipras' former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis criticised the election result as "the 'legalisation' of the capitulation", referring to the bailout deal negotiated between Athens and European creditors during the summer.[20]

The margin of SYRIZA's "decisive" victory was a surprise, with many pundits and analysts predicting a closer race with New Democracy.[19][20] Voter turnout was 7 pp lower than it had been in January.[20]


  1. 1 2 Democratic Coalition results are compared to the combined totals for PASOK and DIMAR in the January 2015 election.
  2. 1 2 3 4 This poll provides data ranges and/or approximations. In order to simplify, the average of these data is given.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Joint exit poll conducted by Alco, GPO, Marc, Metron Analysis and MRB.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 The linked core data of this poll, shows the percentage of support each party would gain among the surveyed sample of the electorate, without disregarding those who were undecided or said they would abstain from voting (either physically or by voting blank). However, in order to obtain results comparable to other polls and the official election results, the result shown in this table has been adjusted based on the simple rule of three, which mean the "group of undecided and/or abstaining voters" have been assumed ultimately to cast their votes (if any) according to the exact same distribution as the group of decided voters (having cast a specific vote in the survey). Or in other words, they are simply disregarded under the assumption they will not cause any change to the already found distribution of votes. After this calculated adjustment, the total of all noted vote shares in the table equals 100%, which is similar to how the results of the official elections are presented. This practice is done for most pollsters, as most of them use and/or have used this system in the past in order to show results comparable to other polls and election results. Exceptionally, Palmos Analysis polls are verified to use a different system than this one, and as such it should not be applied to them.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Pulse RC, PAMAK and ProRata opinion polls round their data so that in the end they show a .0 or a .5 value. This practise is maintained for these polls when disregarding undecided and/or abstaining voters from the totals so as to avoid different interpretations of the same value.


  1. "Greece crisis: PM Tsipras 'to hold September election'". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  2. "Greek Constitution; Part III. Organization and Functions of the State". Retrieved 2015-01-26.
  3. "Voter Turnout in Greek Elections Drops to New Historic Low". Greek Reporter. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  4. "Euro Summit statement, 12 July 2015". European Council. Euro Summit. 12 July 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  5. "A New Start for Jobs and Growth in Greece: Commission Mobilises more than €35 billion from the EU Budget". European Commission. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
    * "Euro Summit statement, 12 July 2015". European Council. Euro Summit. 12 July 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  6. Hope, Kerin (14 August 2015). "Greek Parliament Approves €85bn Bailout after Rancorous Debate". Financial Times. Athens. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  7. "Eurogroup Statement on the ESM Programme for Greece". European Council. Eurogroup. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
    * "Eurozone Ministers Approve First Rranche of Greek Bailout Funds". Business Insider. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. "Greece Crisis: PM Alexis Tsipras Quits and Calls Early Polls". BBC News. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
    * Maltezou, Renee; Kambas, Michele (21 August 2015). "Tsipras Resigns, Paving Way for snap Greek Election". Athens. Reuters. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  9. "Greece Crisis: PM Alexis Tsipras Quits and Calls Early Polls". BBC News. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  10. "Lafazanis Receives Exploratory Mandate from President Pavlopoulos". To Vima. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
    * Bird, Mike (21 August 2015). "Greece's Election just Split Syriza in two". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  11. "Lafazanis Calls on Greek Prez to Postpone Elections until Sept. 27". Proto Thema. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  12. "Election Preamble Coming to an End". Kathimerini. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
    * Stamouli, Nektaria (27 August 2015). "Greece Names Interim Prime Minister to Lead the Country to Snap Election". The Wall Street Journal. Athens. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  13. Presidential Decree 66 of 28 August 2015
    * "Greece Vote Set for 20 September as Interim PM Takes Office". BBC News. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  14. "Election Preamble Coming to an End". Kathimerini. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
    * Sideris, Spyros (28 August 2015). "Lafazanis: The President bluntly Violates the Constitution". Independent Balkan News Agency. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  15. "Constitution of Greece" (PDF). Hellenic Parliament. Retrieved 5 November 2011. Article 51, Clause 5: The exercise of the right to vote is compulsory.
  16. Προεδρικό Διάταγμα 96/2007 [Presidential Decree 96/2007] (in Greek). Article 117, Clause 1: The elector who unjustifiably does not vote is punished with imprisonment of [at least] one month and up to one year.
  17. Υποχρεωτική η ψήφος αλλά "παγωμένες" οι κυρώσεις [Voting is mandatory, but penalties "frozen"]. Eleftherotypia (in Greek). Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 Δεν κατεβαίνει στις εκλογές το ΚΙΔΗΣΟ [KIDISO not running in the elections]. (in Greek). Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  19. 1 2 "Greece election: Alexis Tsipras hails 'victory of the people'". BBC News. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  20. 1 2 3 "Greek election: Voters return Syriza's Alexis Tsipras to power with strong win over conservative challengers". ABC Online. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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