after its large victory in the legislative elections, the right in search of an absolute majority
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The New Democracy conservatives of Kyriakos Mitsotakis came out on top in the legislative elections on Sunday, without reaching an absolute majority. The outgoing Prime Minister has paved the way for a second ballot which could be held at the end of June or the beginning of July.
In the aftermath of the broad victory of the right in the legislative elections, Greece is heading towards a new ballot on Monday, May 22, wanted by outgoing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to try to secure an absolute majority.
Big winner of these elections which aimed to renew the 300 seats of the unicameral Parliament, New Democracy (ND) won 40.8% of the vote, according to the final results. Its main rival, the Syriza party of former head of government Alexis Tsipras, which embodied the hope of the radical left in Europe when it came to power in 2015, suffered a severe setback with 20% of the vote. He is ahead of the socialist party Pasok-Kinal, which wins 11.5% of the vote.
Triumphant on Sunday evening at the headquarters of New Democracy in Athens, Kyriakos Mitsotakis described this victory as a “political earthquake” and paved the way for new legislative elections. They should be held at the end of June or the beginning of July.
Get a “bonus” in a new ballot
Because despite the magnitude of his victory, the 55-year-old leader, in charge of Greece since 2019, narrowly misses the absolute majority: his camp obtains 145 seats of deputies. He needed six more to be able to form a government alone. But in a country where the political culture is not very focused on the search for compromise, he ruled out forming a coalition government.
The next ballot will take place under a different electoral system. The winning party will then get a “bonus” of up to 50 seats. Enough to guarantee him an absolute majority, according to his calculations.
On Monday, the left-wing daily Efsyn headlined “shock and admiration”, a feeling shared by New Democracy and Syriza voters in the face of these results. The pro-government newspaper Proto Thema noted that the 20-point gap between the two main parties was the widest since the return of democracy to Greece in 1974.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself acknowledged that the “great victory” had “exceeded our own expectations”. “Together, we will fight tomorrow so that in the next elections, what the citizens have already decided, namely an autonomous ND, is mathematically confirmed”, hammered the leader of the right.
Heavy failure for Alexis Tsipras
According to the Constitution, the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaroupoulou, must now give each of the political parties a three-day mandate to try to form a government. For his part, the former Prime Minister of the radical left 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 in fact never forgiven him for having crossed swords with the European Union during the stormy negotiations for the granting of a rescue plan in 2015 before capitulating.
At the time, the country, in the midst of a financial slump, found itself on the verge of exiting the euro. Eventually, Alexis Tsipras had to implement drastic austerity measures, the devastating effects of which Greeks still feel today.
Struck for his management deemed calamitous of the rail disaster which killed 57 people at the end of February, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was ultimately not sanctioned by the voters. On the contrary, they have shown themselves to be sensitive to its economic balance sheet.
Falling unemployment, growth of nearly 6% last year, return of investment and soaring tourism: the Greek economy has picked up again after years of crisis and bailouts. But the decline in purchasing power and the difficulties of making ends meet remain the main concerns of the Greeks, who have to deal with low wages. Last year, inflation hovered around 10%, further compounding the difficulties.
However, critics of Kyriakos Mitsotakis accuse him of an authoritarian drift. His tenure has been riddled with scandals, from illegal tapping to the refoulement of migrants to police violence.