New Democracy (Greece)

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New Democracy
Leader Antonis Samaras
Founder Konstantinos Karamanlis
Secretary Andreas Papamimikos
Spokesperson Anna Asimakopoulou
Founded 4 October 1974 (1974-10-04)
Headquarters 340 Syggrou Ave.,
176 73 Kallithea, Athens
Ideology Conservatism[1][2]
Liberal conservatism[3]
Economic liberalism[4]
Pro-Europeanism[4]
Centrism[4]
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours Blue
Parliament
125 / 300
European Parliament
5 / 21
Regions[5]
261 / 725
Website
www.nd.gr
Politics of Greece
Political parties
Elections

New Democracy (Greek: Νέα Δημοκρατία, Néa Dimokratía, also known by its initials ΝΔ, ND) is a liberal-conservative[3] political party in Greece and one of the two major parties in modern Greek politics. The party leader, Antonis Samaras, is the current Prime Minister of Greece.

The party was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic. After serving as the Cabinet of Greece from 2004 to 2009 and its landslide defeat in the 2009 Greek elections, in which they recorded their historical lowest percentage of votes, New Democracy received more votes than any other individual party in the Greek elections of May 2012, but did not manage to form a majority government. In the re-run of the election in June 2012, New Democracy again received the highest number of votes, but did not win an outright majority. However, New Democracy was able to negotiate a coalition with the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and Democratic Left (DIMAR), with Samaras becoming the Prime Minister. New Democracy is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and currently has 7 out of 22 Greek MEPs in the European Parliament.

History[edit]

Konstantinos Karamanlis, founder of ND.

New Democracy was founded on 4 October 1974. Konstantinos Karamanlis was sworn in as the first Prime Minister in two months of the post-dictatorship era. Karamanlis had already served as Prime Minister from 1955 to 1963. In the first free elections of the new era, New Democracy won. This result is attributed mostly to the personal appeal of Karamanlis, rather than the influence of New Democracy as a party, to the electorate. "Karamanlis or tanks" was a slogan at the time, with the latter referring to the military, which, it was feared, might stage another coup.

Karamanlis claimed that he intended New Democracy to be a more modern and progressive right-wing political party than those that ruled Greece before the 1967 military coup, including his own National Radical Union (Εθνική Ριζοσπαστικη Ενωση, ERE). The party's ideology was defined as "radical liberalism," a term defined by ND as "the prevalence of free market rules with the decisive intervention of the state in favour of social justice."

In 1977, New Democracy again won national elections, albeit with a largely reduced majority (41.88%). Still, it retained a comfortable parliamentary majority. Under Karamanlis Greece redefined its relations with NATO, and tried to resolve the Cyprus issue following the Turkish invasion. In 1980, however, Karamanlis retired. His successor, George Rallis, was defeated at the following elections by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) led by Andreas Papandreou. Under New Democracy leadership, Greece joined the European Communities in 1981. Karamanlis was criticised by opposing parties (which were against the prospect of entering the EEC), for not holding a referendum, even though entry into the EEC was prominent in the political platform under which New Democracy had been elected to power.

New Democracy returned to power in a coalition government under Prime Minister Tzannis Tzannetakis with the left-wing party (Coalition of the Left and Progress, which at the time included the Communist Party of Greece) in 1989, subsequently participated in the grand coalition government of Xenophon Zolotas from November 1989 to April 1990 and, eventually, formed a majority government under Constantine Mitsotakis after new elections were held on 10 April 1990. The party then suffered a period of successive losses. It was defeated by a landslide in 1993 under Mitsotakis, in 1996 under Miltiadis Evert, and in 2000 under Kostas Karamanlis, nephew of the party's founder. In 2000 New Democracy lost by 1.06% of the popular vote, the smallest margin in modern Greek history.

By 2003, however, New Democracy was consistently leading the PASOK government of Costas Simitis in opinion polls. In January 2004 Simitis resigned and announced elections for 7 March, at which Karamanlis faced the new PASOK leader, George Papandreou. Despite speculation that Papandreou would succeed in restoring PASOK's fortunes, Karamanlis had a victory in the elections and became Greece's first center-right Prime Minister after eleven years.

ND is a member of the European People's Party, the International Democrat Union and the Centrist Democrat International.[6]

Support[edit]

Kostas Karamanlis giving an interview at a 2008 EPP summit

The regions that consistently support New Democracy include the Peloponnese, Central Macedonia and West Macedonia. On the other hand, the party is very weak in Crete, the Aegean Islands, Attica and West Greece.

2004 elections[edit]

On 7 March 2004, New Democracy under the leadership of Kostas Karamanlis won an all-time record of 3,359,682 votes since the party's foundation in 1974. The government that was formed as a result ended the 11-year winning streak of PASOK led by George Papandreou after Prime Minister and party leader Costas Simitis resigned in February.

2007 re-election[edit]

On 16 September 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, PASOK, accepted defeat (New Democracy party with 41.84%, and opposition party PASOK had 38.1%).[7]

2009 defeat[edit]

Political campaign of party New Democracy before the European Parliament election in Greece in 2009
Kiosk of political party in Athens in 2009

On 2 September 2009 Karamanlis announced his intention to call an election, although one was not required until September 2011.[8] The parliament was dissolved on 9 September, and the 2009 legislative election was held on 4 October. New Democracy's share of the parliamentary vote dropped to 33.47% (down by 8.37%) and they won only 91 of 300 seats, dropping by 61 since the last election.[9] The rival PASOK soared to 43.92% (up 5.82%), and took 160 seats (up 58).[9] The 33.5% tally marked a historic low for the party since its founding in 1974.[10] Karamanlis conceded defeat and stated that he would resign as a leader of New Democracy, and would not stand as a candidate at the next party election.[11] Two former Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Dora Bakoyannis and Antonis Samaras, as well as Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis were announced as candidates,[12] with Samaras being the favorite to win.[13]

On 29 November 2009, Antonis Samaras was elected the new leader of New Democracy by the party base at the 2009 leadership election.[14] Following early results showing Samaras in the lead, his main rival Dora Bakoyannis conceded defeat and congratulated Samaras for his election;[15] later she left New Democracy to found her own party, Democratic Alliance. Samaras himself had also left New Democracy in 1992 because of his hard stance on the Macedonia naming dispute and found his own party, Political Spring; he returned to New Democracy in 2004.[16]

Government debt crisis[edit]

Structure of the August 2012 Hellenic Parliament with New Democracy winning 128 seats

New Democracy was in opposition during the first phase (2009–11) of the Greek government debt crisis which included the first rescue package agreed in May 2010. The party did not support the first EU/IMF rescue package of May 2010 and the three related austerity packages of March 2010, May 2010 and June 2011.[17][18][19] Further measures were agreed by prime minister George Papandreou with the EU and private banks and insurers on 27 October 2011. The aim was to complete negotiations by the end of the year and put in place a full second rescue package to supplement the one agreed in May 2010.[20] Samaras initially blasted the deal.[21] In reality New Democracy had dismissed cross-party agreement even before the deal was agreed.[22]

A few days later, Papandreou announced a surprise referendum.[23] During the frantic negotiations that followed, Samaras offered to support the austerity package he had initially condemned if Papandreou resigned and an interim government be appointed to lead the country to elections early in the new year.[24]

The referendum was never held, and Papandreou resigned in early November 2011. New Democracy supported the new national unity government headed by Lucas Papademos; however the party's support for austerity appeared lukewarm at first.[25][26]

Within a few days, party officials spoke of "renegotiating" existing agreements with the EU and IMF.[27] EU partners requested that Samaras sign a letter committing him to the terms of the rescue package, in what was seen as an effort to keep the nationalist elements of his party happy. Samaras argued that his word should be enough and that the demand for a written commitment was "humiliating".[28] Both Papademos and the EU insisted on a written commitment. New Democracy repeated its call for new elections.[29] Samaras was said to be infuriating European leaders by only partly backing the international reform programme.[30] A meeting of Eurozone's Finance Ministers was postponed in February 2012, when it became apparent that not all the main political parties were willing to pledge to honour the conditions demanded in return for the rescue package; a day later Samaras reversed course and wrote to the European Commission and IMF, promising to implement the austerity measures if his party were to win a general election in April.[31] German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble suggested postponing the election and setting up a small technocratic cabinet like Italy’s to run Greece for the next two years.[31]

Election results, Greek parliamentary elections 1974–2012[edit]

Year Party Leader Number of votes Percentage of votes Seats in the
Hellenic Parliament
Position in Parliament
1974
Konstantinos Karamanlis
2,669,133
54.37%
220 / 300
Government
1977
Konstantinos Karamanlis
2,146,365
41.84%
171 / 300
Government
1981
Georgios Rallis
2,034,496
35.87%
115 / 300
Main opposition party
1985
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
2,599,681
40.84%
126 / 300
Main opposition party
1989 (I)
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
2,887,488
44.28%
145 / 300
Largest party/Coalition government with KKE & SYN
1989 (II)
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
3,093,479
46.19%
148 / 300
Largest party/Part of an all-party coalition government
1990
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
3,088,137
46.89%
150 / 300
Government
1993
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
2,711,739
39.30%
111 / 300
Main opposition party
1996
Miltiadis Evert
2,584,765
38.12%
108 / 300
Main opposition party
2000
Kostas Karamanlis
2,935,196
42.74%
125 / 300
Main opposition party
2004
Kostas Karamanlis
3,359,058
45.36%
165 / 300
Government
2007
Kostas Karamanlis
2,994,979
41.84%
152 / 300
Government
2009
Kostas Karamanlis
2,295,967
33.48%
91 / 300
Main opposition party/Member of the Coalition Cabinet of Lucas Papademos since November 11, 2011
2012 (I)
Antonis Samaras
1,192,051
18.85%
108 / 300
Largest party
2012 (II)
Antonis Samaras
1,825,609
29.66%
129 / 300
Largest party/Coalition government with PASOK & DIMAR

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1981 1,779,462 31.3 (#2)
8 / 24
1984 2,266,568 38.1 (#2)
9 / 24
Increase 1
1989 2,647,215 40.5 (#1)
10 / 24
Increase 1
1994 2,133,372 32.7 (#2)
10 / 25
Steady 0
1999 2,314,371 36.0 (#1)
9 / 25
Decrease 1
2004 2,633,961 43.0 (#1)
11 / 24
Increase 2
2009 1,655,636 32.3 (#2)
8 / 22
Decrease 3
2014 1,298,713 22.75 (#2)
5 / 21
Decrease 3

Leadership[edit]

Leaders[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kalaitzidis, Akis (2009), Europe's Greece: A Giant in the Making, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 26–28 
  2. ^ Hloušek, Vít; Kopeček, Lubomír (2010). Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT: Ashgate. pp. 157, 159. 
  3. ^ a b José María Magone (1 January 2003). The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration Into the European Union. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-0-275-97787-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Kalaitzidis, Akis (2009), Europe's Greece: A Giant in the Making, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 29 
  5. ^ The counselors of the Regions.
  6. ^ Parties, Centrist Democrat International, www.IDC-CDI.com, retrieved on 6 June 2012
  7. ^ Yahoo.com, Prime minister's party wins Greek vote
  8. ^ Carassava, Anthee (3 September 2009). "Greek Premier, Dogged by Many Troubles, Takes Risk With Snap Elections". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ a b "National elections, October 2009". Ministry of the Interior. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Becatoros, Elena (4 October 2009). "Socialists Trounce Conservatives in Greek Elections". The Huffington Post. 
  11. ^ Smith, Helena (5 October 2009). "Greek socialists achieve resounding win in snap election". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ "ND heads for tense election showdown". Kathimerini. 28 November 2009. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Samaras keeps lead in ND race". Kathimerini. 23 November 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Καθαρή νίκη Σαμαρά (Clear victory of Samaras)". Ta Nea (in Greek). 30 November 2009. 
  15. ^ "Σαμαράς: "Νικήσαμε όλοι. Δεν υπάρχουν ηττημένοι" (Samaras: "We all won, there are no losers")". Ta Nea (in Greek). 29 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Tagaris, Karolina (4 November 2011). "Greek opposition leader's U-turn opens path to power". Reuters. 
  17. ^ "Greek parliament approves bill with austerity measures despite protest". Xinhua News Agency. 6 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Smith, Helena (6 May 2010). "Greece approves sweeping austerity measures". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ Donadio, Rachel; Kitsantonis, Niki (30 June 2011). "Greek Parliament Approves Implementation of Austerity Plan". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ "Eurozone leaders, bankers agree 50 pct haircut for Greece". Ekathimerini. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  21. ^ "Stocks up, but ND blasts debt deal". Ekathimerini. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  22. ^ "Cross-party support appears unlikely". Ekathimerini. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  23. ^ "Papandreou calls for referendum on EU debt deal". Ekathimerini. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  24. ^ "Samaras: Our proposal is still on the table". Ekathimerini. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  25. ^ "Samaras gives limited support to 'transitional' gov't". Ekathimerini. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  26. ^ "Greece's politicians: In their own time". The Economist. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  27. ^ "ND takes more offensive stance". Ekathimerini. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  28. ^ "Samaras ousts MP over 'far-right' comments". Ekathimerini. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  29. ^ "Greece's government: Divided they stand". The Economist. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  30. ^ "Charlemagne: Angela the lawgiver". The Economist. 4 February 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "Greece and the euro: From tragedy to farce". The Economist. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 

External links[edit]