chapter  2
19 Pages

Elections and Voters, 1974–2004: Old Cleavages and New Issues

The three-decade period of the Third Greek Republic (1974-2004), established after the fall of the military dictatorship, is characterised by the difficult but constant demarcation from the inherited cleavages of the past and the gradual realignment of the electoral influence of political parties centred around the issues of the present. By the middle of the 1990s, with the gradual departure of the historical leaders, and renewal of the political personnel (in the parliament elected on 7 March 2004, 67% of members of parliament (MPs) had first been elected in 1993 and after, and only 5% prior to 1981), in addition to the emergence of new issues, political competition tended towards radical transformation. These transformations took place within a more general framework, characterised by a constantly declining interest in politics, an increased diffusion of political cynicism and the drastic reduction of ideological differences between the two major parties, changing the electoral competition from a stable expression of identity to a volatile (and often negative) choice on the basis of political issues.