Ruling New Democracy in a few weeks will enter its fourth year in power, which means the country will effectively be in a pre-electoral period, especially since there have been rampant rumours of early elections for many months.

Until now, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has continually been declaring that elections will be held right before the end of his four-year term, in July, 2023.

Only recently did he raise the issue of the toxicity of political competition, without publicly changing his position on the timing of elections.

Despite all that, there is rampant talk even within the government about holding a general election in early autumn.

Supporters of the idea point to the uncertainties regarding developments over the next 12 months, especially in the winter, which with fuel prices at current or higher levels will influence the decision of voters.

Moreover, for many months, most ministers have been organising their campaigns in their electoral districts instead of focusing on the issues pertaining to the portolios with which the PM entrusted them.

The most serious question is to what extent, under the current difficult conditions, can the country withstand a protracted and extremely polarising 12-month political campaign?

With Turkish aggressiveness at a very high level, with the obvious consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian war, with strong and persistent inflationary pressures, and with doubts about political stability, there are rampant uncertainties that constitute an argument in favour of holding early elections, and at least eradicating political risk.

Moreover, it would be best that the Greek and Turkish elections scheduled for 2023 not overlap, particularly given the prevailing anti-Greece climate with extremely inflammatory rhetoric in Turkey.

The PM obviously has not taken a final decision. He wants to see how things will go during the summer, what pressures the government may face due to probable and expected wildfires, and whether tourism will temper the negative impact of the Russo-Ukrainian war. He also wants to assess and evaluate Turkey’s designs.

At the same time, everyone expects him to take into account the signals from opinion polls, which he is naturally closely monitoring.
For now, pollsters believe that his management of successive crises has favoured Mr. Mitsotakis, and that after three years in power New Democracy may have suffered wear and tear but has not suffered strategic blows that might deconstruct it.

SYRIZA is not benefiting from the ruling party’s slide in the polls, nor has the reborn PASOK maintained the momentum it gained after Nikos Androulakis was elected as the new party leader last December.

Hence, the PM has some room to wait. Everything will be decided at the end of summer, when he will evaluate conditions, measure results, and assess the dangers of a protracted pre-electoral period.

If he finds that the risks are multiplying, obviously he will set aside any reservations and declare an election for October.

Political stability is exceptionally valuable in times of prolonged crises.

Given the fact that the next election will be held with a proportional representation system (without the customary bonus of parliamentary seats for the first party), Mr Mitsotakis will have many reasons to seek to garner a strong majority as soon as possible.