Conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has won his second election in less than two months. He said his party now has a “safe majority” in parliament that will allow it to enact “major reforms.”
Greece’s conservative New Democracy party (ND) claimed victory at Sunday’s parliamentary election, which had been called to break a political deadlock caused by an election last month.
With 95% of ballots counted, the party of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis came out on top with 40.5% of the vote.
“The people have given us a safe majority. Major reforms will proceed rapidly,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address on Sunday night.
Addressing a cheering crowd outside his party headquarters, the 55-year-old former McKinsey consultant promised robust growth that he said would lead to wage increases.
Mitsotakis’ party is set to hold around 157 out of the 300 seats in parliament thanks to a law for repeat elections that grants the winning party 50 bonus seats.
In the elections held in May, Mitsotakis’ party had a landslide victory among individual parties but fell just five seats short of being able to form a single-party majority in parliament.
Rather than seeking to set up a coalition government, Mitsotakis chose to call for another vote, confident that Greece’s rules if a second election was required would improve his chances of outright victory, given how close he came at the first attempt.
How did the opposition parties fare?
About 9.8 million Greek voters were eligible to choose from 32 political parties on Sunday.
The Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) gained around 18% of the vote — worse than the result at the previous election in May.
“We have suffered a heavy electoral defeat,” party leader Alex Tsipras said.
“It goes without saying that I will be the first to face the judgement of the party members.”
The center-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) received almost 13% of the vote, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) received more than 7% and the ultra-nationalist Spartans party has around 5%.
Left-wing party MeRA25, founded by former Syriza Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, did not pass the 3% threshold required to enter parliament.
An expected outcome
The election was held on the heels of a migrant shipwreck on June 14 in which hundreds of people are feared to have died.
Pre-election polls had suggested strong prospects of victory for the conservative Mitsotakis, who has been Greece’s prime minister since 2019.
He has touted the strong economy under his leadership and most analysts attribute ND’s strong position to the country’s gradual recovery from its financial crisis of roughly a decade.
Mitsotakis’ first term was marked by a return to economic growth and falling unemployment rates in Greece.
Syriza was expected to garner the second-highest share of votes, but still lag far behind the ruling party.
Tsipras has been critical of Mitsotakis over a wiretapping scandal and on migration.
His party’s support evaporated in 2019 after Syriza stewarded Greece through some of the most turbulent years of its debt crisis.
Source: Deutsche Welle