London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Greek university student’s participation in national elections: Voting behavior and signs of political apathy and decreasing civic consciousness in the context of economic crisis in Greece

Author(s) Kyridis, A., Vamvakidou, I. & Zagkos, C.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2011  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World  
Age group -  
During the first years of the establishment of the third Greek Republic (1974) Greek voters participated almost en masse in electoral processes. Over the years, the turnout was steadily decreasing, especially from 1990 onwards, culminating in the participation of the national elections of 2009 and the regional elections of 2010. Traditionally, Greek university students used to be a much politicized social group which was characterized by progressive ideology and revolutionary protest practices. In recent years, some research findings concerning depreciation of politics and politicians, a low voting turn out in national, local and European elections both with a tremendous abstention in students’ unions elections show off that the aforetime revolutionary political dynamics of the Greek university students were substituted by a political apathy and a low degree of civic consciousness. In our research we analyze the participation and turnout of Greek university students in all four kinds of elections taking place in Greece (national elections, elections, regional elections, elections for the E.U. Parliament and student elections). Our analysis showed that from 1990 onwards there is a significant reduction in electoral participation and a subsequent increase in absenteeism. We believe that this phenomenon can not be regarded as the result of indifference or apathy of the electorate, but as an expression of political protest against the pathologies of the Greek political system. Keywords: voting behavior, political apathy, civic education, abstention

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