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Archbishop of Greece Slams Allegations Of Church Meddling in Elections

Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece
Archbishop of all Greece Ieronymos has dismissed allegations of Church involvement ahead of the June 25 national elections. Credit: Archbishopric of Athens

On Saturday, Archbishop of all Greece Ieronymos dismissed allegations of Church involvement in the Greek general elections and denied any attempted association with political parties.

“That’s enough,” Archbishop Ieronymos warned in a statement.

“I will tolerate neither the vulgar attempt to utilize our Church as a tool for the pursuit of the alien purposes of anyone – and its appropriation by any counterfeiters of our faith, who, taking advantage of the religious sentiment of the people, seek to create followers and armies – nor the similarly blasphemous attempt to target our Church as an alleged “underground” or “secret” factor involved in procedures and issues completely unrelated to its mission,” the Archbishop said in a strict tone.

The Orthodox Church of Greece is represented solely by the Holy Synod and its Archbishop, the statement added.

Although the Archbishop’s announcement doesn’t name who would “attempt to utilize the Church,”  the statement could be in response to vague allegations that the Orthodox Church of Greece is associated with the conservative Niki party, which is run by a theologist and has described itself as “keeping a distance from circles of ideas incompatible with Christian moral values.”

The newly-founded Niki party was on the verge of entering Parliament as it recorded 2.92 percent of votes in the first round of the general election last Sunday – a very close shot to the required 3 percent threshold.

Caretaker cabinet’s first full-length meeting

Greece’s caretaker cabinet had its first full-length meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas, at Maximos Mansion in Athens on Saturday.

This short-term government “is tasked with preparing the country for a second round of elections on June 25 and carrying out Greece’s outstanding obligations until then,” Sarmas pointed out to his ministers.

During the meeting, he urged them to pursue “diligent risk management and identify the various risks that threaten the activities, the financial life, and everything that is related to [their] ministerial responsibilities.”

6 in 10 registered voters cast their vote in Greece elections

60.94 percent of registered voters cast their vote on the first round of the Greek national elections on May 21.

The final results of percentages, parliamentary seats and number of votes for each party were published on Friday.

According to these, New Democracy got 40.79 percent of votes (146 seats), SYRIZA 20.07 percent (71 seats), PASOK 11.46 percent (41 seats), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 7.23 percent (26 seats) and Greek Solution 4.45 percent (16 seats).

The parties that could not elect an MP accounted for 16.01 percent of the total votes.

The three parties that came close to passing the 3% threshold to enter parliament were Νiki with 2.92 percent, Plefsi Eleftherias with 2.89 percent and MeRA25 with 2.63 percent.

The second round of the national elections on June 25 will be held under the reinforced proportional representation system, as opposed to the simple proportional representation system that the May 21 national ballot was held under.

This means that the party that comes first is granted “sliding scale” bonus seats in parliament, depending on its final percentage of votes.

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