Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has hailed a clear victory and claims he feels “vindicated” after winning Sunday’s general election, designed to garner a fresh mandate.
— Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) September 20, 2015
Polls had the race between Tsipras' Syriza party and the centre-right group New Democracy as much closer than it transpired. He heralded the result as "a mandate to put an end to systemic corruption".
At best, however, Syriza's win is tempered by the fact turnout for the election was just 56.5 per cent – a historic low for Greece and a 7.1 per cent drop from January’s election, when turnout was 63.6 per cent.
A simple look at these numbers suggests that voters might have become apathetic and disconnected from their country’s politics and leaders. But the numbers also warrant some further analysis.
Syriza won slightly fewer seats this time around, taking 145 of the total 300 seats available, compared with 149 in January. In total Tsipras’ party received 320,000 fewer votes than it did nine months ago.
Or put another way, Tsipras won almost 2.25m votes in January, but just over 1.9m in September’s election, a 14 per cent decline.
The chart below shows the amount of votes different parties won in January and September. Most parties saw their popularity drop, but Syriza actually experienced the biggest decline in the number of votes received. Proportionately, Syriza secured 35.5 per cent of the total vote – down from 36.3 per cent in January.
New Democracy was the second-biggest loser, down 190,000 votes between January and September – but despite this it actually increased its take of the total votes cast from 27.8 per cent to 28.1 per cent.
Syriza ended up with just over 13,000 votes per elected official in yesterday’s election, down from 15,000 votes per MP in January.
Meanwhile, Popular Unity, which is made up of former Syriza MPs who defected last month, failed to reach the three per cent threshold to gain seats in parliament, suggesting that while Tsipras may have lost some of his popularity, he retains more support than those that want to bring about a Grexit.