Mitsotakis promises change in Greece after big win

The centre-right New Democracy (ND) won the first parliamentary elections in Greece after the country emerged from a prolonged financial crisis.

The party’s leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to be sworn in as prime minister on Monday. The ministers will take oath of office on Tuesday and the cabinet will meet the next day. The Parliament session will begin on July 17.

ND won 158 seats or 39.77% of votes when 86.4% votes were counted late on Sunday.

Outgoing Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras’ party Syriza secured only 86 seats or 31.55% of votes counted so far.

The Center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) captured 7.94% of votes (22 seats) while the Greek Communist Party (KKE) won 5.35% of votes (15 seats).

As predicted in the exit polls, the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn did not reach the 3% threshold to enter parliament. It managed to get only 2.96% votes.

The Greek Solution (Elliniki Lysi) party, which was also projected to miss the parliament, managed to get 3.74% of votes or 10 seats.

Thanking voters, Mitsotakis said he accepts their mandate with respect and humility and reaffirmed his resolve to bring about change.

The new administration’s first priority will be uniting all Greeks and ensuring them growth, jobs and security.

He said his team will skip the four-week summer recess.

Stressing on openness and meritocracy, Mitsotakis said Greece will become a strong voice in Europe.  

While conceding defeat and congratulating Mitsotakis, Tsipras said Greece’s position is better than when his government took over four years ago.

However, the election outcome was a reflection of public anger against the austerity drive Tsipras was forced to undertake in exchange for rescuing the bankrupt country from the financial crisis.

Although Tsipras’ government was able to rein in recession by 2017 and the EU’s bailout plan ended last year, some 400,000 Greeks, who left the country during the debt crisis which began in 2010, are still refusing to return.

Congratulating Mitsotakis for his party’s poll victory, European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker said Greece has achieved a lot but must do more.

Juncker assured the prime minister-elect EC’s support in bringing out changes in Greece.

Until the start of this year, Greece has repaid $46.14 billion of $359.29 billion it borrowed from European authorities and private investors.

The repayments that will take decades to complete are a big challenge for future governments of Greece.