Confronted with an apparent stinging defeat in today’s European Parliament election, the government is arguing that the result is not the strategic defeat of the ruling party that main opposition New Democracy and the centre-left Movement for Change had called on voters to deliver to SYRIZA.
Speaking to the Web TV One Channel following early exit poll results which gave ND a seven percentage point lead over SYRIZA government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos in an initial effort at damage control said that result is not the strategic defeat of the government that its opponents had strived for.
Later, shortly after 9:30pm, a representative of the Singular Logic company that has been hired to administer the vote count for many successive elections projected a 9 percentage point spread between New Democracy and SYRIZA with a margin of error of plus or minus 0.5 percent.
Some surveys and projections by pundits had pointed to a double digit lead for New Democracy.
Tzanakopoulos said that SYRIZA remains one of the two major poles of the Greek political system and still has a shot at winning the general election, whenever that may be held.
“SYRIZA does not appear to have suffered the strategic defeat that New Democracy strived for. On the contrary, it is one of the two big poles of the system and indeed with a shot and at achieving yet another victory in the forthcoming general election,” the spokesman said.
Tzanakopoulos avoided addressing the question of whether the result should be interpreted as a loss in a confidence vote for the government, which is how PM Alexis Tsipras had said before the election that it should be treated.
“I hope that the measures [Tsipras’ economic stimulus package with benefits and tax cuts] will not be disputed who those are biding their time [to undermine them] domestically and abroad,” Tzanakopoulos said.
“We will have to analyse the results of the European Parliament election. We must waitand see the final result so as to draw our political conclusion.”