The right-wing party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis won a large victory in the legislative elections in Greece on Sunday May 21, but a second ballot will be necessary 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 the polling stations. It is very clearly ahead of the left of the former head of government, Alexis Tsipras, who only won 20% of the vote, ahead of the Socialist Party (Pasok-Kinal) which obtained 11.6%.
Describing the results of the ballot as a "political earthquake", Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office in 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 obtain an absolute majority. Through a different electoral system, the winning party would then get a "bonus" of up to 50 seats.
According to projections on Sunday evening, his party wins 145 of the 300 seats of deputies, six less than the absolute majority.
"Together, we will fight tomorrow so that in the next elections, what the citizens have already decided, namely an autonomous ND, will be mathematically confirmed", launched the head of government, addressing his jubilant supporters.
During his campaign, Kyriakos Mitsotakis ruled out forming a coalition in a country whose political culture is not based on compromise. For his part, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, from Syriza, a radical left movement, called on his supporters to lead a "second crucial electoral struggle". The leader of the party, which has largely refocused Syriza in recent years, has suffered a severe setback.
The Greeks have never really forgiven him for having crossed swords with the European Union (EU) during the stormy negotiations for the granting of a rescue plan in 2015 to the point of precipitating the country on the verge of leaving euro, before capitulating and having to implement drastic austerity measures dictated by Greece's creditors.
During his campaign, Mr. Mitsotakis, a Harvard graduate and son of a former prime minister, continued to promote his economic record. Before his victory, he said he wanted to make Greece "a stronger country with an important role in Europe".
A public debt of more than 170% of GDP
Falling unemployment, growth of nearly 6% last year, return of investment and soaring tourism… The economy has picked up again after the years of crisis and strict austerity.
The drop in purchasing power and the difficulties of making ends meet remain the main concerns of the Greeks and inflation approached 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. At the end of February, the train disaster that killed 57 people awoke the anger that has plagued Greece since the crisis and led to demonstrations against the government accused of negligence.
The critics of Mr. Mitsotakis accuse him of an authoritarian drift. His mandate has been peppered with scandals, from illegal wiretapping to the refoulement of migrants and police violence. Singled out for "attacks on the rule of law", Greece, the EU's bottom line in press freedom in the annual Reporters Without Borders ranking, is also regularly accused of pushing migrants back to Greece. Turkey.