SYRIZA's Electoral Victory in Greek Thrace: Impact of Muslim Minority Vote in the Changing Political System

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NATIONALISM AND ETHNIC POLITICS, vol.23, no.2, pp.155-181, 2017 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13537113.2017.1311141
  • Page Numbers: pp.155-181


This article, based on the link between institutional changes and voter behavior, focusing mainly on the 2015 parliamentary elections in Greece and the SYRIZA party's success in Greek Thrace, aims to understand why the Muslim minority voted significantly for SYRIZA and how they managed to send four Muslim representatives to the Greek Parliament, three of them from the same party. The article argues that, although there is massive support for radical-left SYRIZA due to its electoral promises to improve social services in addition to the party's rational candidate nomination, this support reflects a mixture of sociological and issue-voting behavior of the Muslim minority related to their motivation for political representation rather than an ideological shift. The changing political system in Greece since 2012, from a two-party to a multiparty system with decreasing voter turnout, increased the impact of the Muslim vote on electoral results in the September and January 2015 elections; however, it also increased social tension between the majority and the minority.