The right-wing party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis won a landslide victory in Greece’s legislative elections on Sunday, but a second ballot will be needed to guarantee it a stable government.
New Democracy (ND) led by the outgoing Prime Minister won 40.8% of the vote, according to partial results covering 85% of polling stations.
It is very clearly ahead of the left of former head of government Alexis Tsipras, which won only 20% of the vote, ahead of the socialist party Pasok-Kinal which recorded a score of 11.6%.
Hailing with his victory “a political earthquake”, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in charge since 2019, paved the way for a second ballot which could be held at the end of June or the beginning of July and would allow him, if he confirms this performance, to win a majority. absolute.
Thanks to a different electoral system, the winning party would then obtain a “bonus” of up to 50 seats.
According to projections on Sunday evening, his party wins 145 of the 300 seats of deputies, six seats less than the absolute majority.
Shortly after, addressing his jubilant supporters, he assured: “together, we will fight tomorrow so that in the next elections what the citizens have already decided, namely an autonomous ND, is mathematically confirmed”.
During his election campaign, Kyriakos Mitsotakis ruled out forming a coalition in a country whose political culture is not based on compromise.
For his part, the former prime minister of the radical left Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, noting his defeat, called on his sympathizers to carry out a “second crucial electoral struggle”.
But the 48-year-old leader, who has largely refocused Syriza in recent years, has suffered a heavy failure, he who had promised “change”.
The Greeks have never really forgiven him for having crossed swords with the European Union during the stormy negotiations for the granting of a rescue plan in 2015, to the point of rushing the country to the brink of leaving the EU. euro, before capitulating and having to implement drastic austerity measures dictated by Greece’s creditors.
During his election campaign, Mr. Mitsotakis, a Harvard graduate and son of a former prime minister, never ceased to brandish his economic record.
Before his victory, he assured that he wanted to make Greece “a stronger country with an important role in Europe”.
Falling unemployment, growth of almost 6% last year, return of investments and surge in tourism, the economy has picked up again after the years of crisis and strict austerity.
His opponent, who in 2015 embodied the hopes of the radical left in Europe, had wanted to see in these elections “a day of hope” to “turn the page” on a government “arrogant and not interested in the most numerous “.
The decline in purchasing power and the difficulties of making ends meet remain the main concerns of the Greeks. And inflation came close to 10% last year, further aggravating the difficulties of the population.
The country is still suffering from a public debt of more than 170% of its GDP.
“There is a part of the population condemned to go hungry,” lamented Giorgos Koulouris, a 60-year-old miner. “Children go abroad, scientists […] leave, because they cannot live in Greece with stagnating wages and skyrocketing rents”.
At the end of February, the train disaster that killed 57 people awoke the anger that has plagued Greece since the crisis and triggered demonstrations against the government, accused of negligence.
The critics of Mr. Mitsotakis accuse him of an authoritarian drift since he came to power. His mandate has been peppered with scandals, from illegal wiretapping to the refoulement of migrants, to police violence.
Pointed out in terms of “attacks on the rule of law”, Greece, the EU’s bottom line in terms of freedom of the press in the annual ranking of Reporters Without Borders, is also regularly accused of turning back migrants to Turkey.
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