Greek elections, Mitsotakis’ conservatives win: how Europe is shifting more and more to the right

Elizabeth Smith

The Greek elections reconfirmed their confidence in outgoing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of the conservative Nea Dimokratia party, which pulled away from the opposition, starting with Syriza. A ‘clear result’, even higher than the expectations drawn by the polls. But not enough to form a one-party government without resorting to a coalition.

Sources in his party were quick to clarify that Mitsotakis intends to renounce an exploratory mandate in order to return to the vote on 25 June, with an electoral system that can guarantee him a more secure majority.

The scenario is dictated by the first partial data that see Mitsotakis’ party at 41%, while its main rival Syriza, led by former premier Alexis Tsipras, is stuck at 20%. Behind them, the socialist Pasok party with 11% of the vote, while the formation of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, with 2.4, risks not entering parliament.

Nea Dimokratia wins, but without an absolute majority

Mitsotakis, who received a congratulatory phone call from Tsipras, thus failed to achieve an absolute majority in the 300-seat parliament. And if at this point, according to the constitution, the phase of negotiations for a government alliance should open, the leader of the conservatives has already made it known that he does not want to form a coalition. And that he is aiming for a one-party government, free from “blackmail from other parties”.

The new elections are to be held under a different electoral system, approved during the Nea Dimokratia government, which directly awards a bonus of seats, up to a maximum of 50, to the winning party.

Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis had also reduced the perimeter of a possible dialogue in recent days, claiming that he was against the idea that Mitsotakis or Tsipras could serve as premier again.

Read also: The main political elections to watch out for in 2023

Even the defeated Tsipras is preparing for new elections

The only one so far to have called for a ‘progressive coalition’ to avert a new Nea Dimokratia government was Alexis Tsipras.

Who now sees his hopes for a comeback dashed by the undecided and younger voters. The leader of the left has also made it clear that he already wants to prepare for the new electoral round.

‘The election cycle is not over,’ he declared from his party headquarters: ‘Changes’ must be made immediately ‘to fight the battle under the best possible conditions’.

Mitsotakis’ proclamation

“We will run faster, for better salaries, jobs, a better health system, a stronger Greece,” Mitsotakis reiterated in the evening. Thus adding: “I am proud and feel the weight of responsibility for such an important result.”

Elected for the first time in 2019, in the four years of his government he has managed to keep his approval ratings high. This, even after the wiretapping scandal of politicians and journalists that broke out last summer. And, after the train tragedy in Thebes in February, where 57 people lost their lives.

A Harvard graduate with a background as an economic analyst at the Chase Bank in London, Mitsotakis belongs to a long-standing Greek political dynasty. His father was himself prime minister, while his nephew is the current mayor of Athens. During the election campaign, Mitsotakis presented himself as the reassuring face that led the country out of the painful debt crisis.

Last year Greece exited the European Union’s economic surveillance programme and recorded 5.9% growth. Nea Dimokratia’s election slogan, “Do we go back, or do we go forward?”, which alluded to Tsipras’ previous government, elected in the midst of the debt crisis in 2015, seems to have resonated with voters.

Read also: Turkey elections, nation in the balance after 20 years of Erdogan: heading for a runoff

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