Greece’s conservatives win big in election

In this photo provided by the Greek Prime Minister’s Office, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis listens to a question during an interview on Greece’s ANTENNA TV, in Athens, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister’s Office via AP)

Greece’s main conservative party pulled a major victory in Sunday’s election, setting up a second vote in the summer that could give the party an outright majority in the parliament. 

According to election results, The New Democracy party, the party of current Greece prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had a double-digit lead over its main rival the left-wing Syriza party.

Even with the large lead, New Democracy’s 40 percent vote share wasn’t enough to gain full control of the 300-seat parliament due to the new electoral system of proportional representation.

Mitsotakis, a Harvard-educated former banking executive who became prime minister of the country in 2019, will either have to seek a coalition partner from a smaller party or prepare for a second election later this year to form a government in his country. 

In a statement, Mitsotakis said he plans to “follow all constitutional procedures,” though maintaining he viewed the current electoral system that created the need for coalition was akin to “party horse-trading.”

“Without a doubt, the political earthquake that occurred today calls on us all to speed up the process for a definitive government solution so our country can have an experienced hand at its helm as soon as possible,” Mitsotakis said in his statement. 

This was the first election in Greece since its economy ceased being under the strict supervision of international leaders, who had provided financial relief for the country during its nearly decade-long financial crisis. 

The second election, which is expected to be held in late June or early July, would be conducted with a new electoral law that gives the winning party up to 50 bonus seats in the second round of voting, Politico reported, making it easier for the country to form its government. 

In a statement, Syriza head Alexis Tsipras called the election results “exceptionally negative” for his party, adding that they plan to examine the results and how they came about. 

“However, the electoral cycle is not yet over,” Tsipras, a former prime minister of Greece, said in a statement. “We don’t have the luxury of time. We must immediately carry out all the changes that are needed so we can fight the next crucial and final electoral battle with the best terms possible.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tags Alexis Tsipras Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis

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