Greece has elected a new parliament. The winner of the election is the incumbent Prime Minister Mitsotakis with his liberal-conservative New Dimokratia. And yet new elections are likely. By Moritz Pompl.
Greece has elected a new parliament. The winner of the election is the incumbent Prime Minister Mitsotakis with his liberal-conservative New Dimokratia. And yet new elections are likely.
Even Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis did not expect this result. In the past few months, he has been in a tailspin with his conservative New Democracy: first a wiretapping scandal that he was accused of, then a serious train accident at the end of February that killed 57 people.
The polls went down. And freshly: Clear evidence of a pushback of refugees from the island of Lesbos to Turkey – a practice that violates international law and which the prime minister has always denied.
Nevertheless, he is now getting a result that exceeds all expectations and also the result at the last election: 41 percent. “Let’s rest a bit today and celebrate this great victory, which I think is a victory of progress over one of regression, a victory of a light Greece over a dark Greece. But we have a lot of work to do starting tomorrow,” Mitsotakis said his followers.
Massive Syriza casualties
On the other hand, the strongest competitor, the left Syriza, has very long faces. Until the very end, Alexis Tsipras had relied on undecided and young voters. For the first time, 17-year-olds were allowed to vote. But in the end there are 20 percent, almost minus 12 percent compared to the last election four years ago and much less than in the polls. The left is splitting: some votes go to two former Syriza politicians who ran with their own parties.
Syriza boss Tsipras wants to look ahead despite massive losses.
Tsipras will have to be asked whether he is still the right person for Syriza. With his many social promises – higher minimum wage, more pension, reduced VAT on groceries – he was not able to score. A desired “progressive coalition”: off the table. Now he is already looking at a possible new election: “We must immediately initiate everything that is necessary, make the necessary changes in order to organize the next decisive and final election campaign in the best possible way.”
social democrats see themselves on the rise
Third place goes to the social democratic PASOK. It collapsed devastatingly during the financial crisis and is slowly recovering to 11.6 percent now. Party leader Nikos Androulakis celebrates this as a success and sees the Social Democrats back on the winning track. “We are die democratic party with values, respect for human dignity and the rule of law,” he said. “Today was a big step towards the future. Today we are once again becoming a major player in our country’s political landscape.”
PASOK boss Androulakis could form a coalition with New Democracy – but the relationship between the parties is considered tense.
Much has been discussed in advance about a possible role of PASOK as a “kingmaker”. With the New Dimokratia it would be enough in a coalition for an absolute majority. But relations have soured after Androulakis was monitored by phone, and the threads of this wiretapping scandal lead to Mitsotaki’s office.
Little time for negotiations
Mitsotakis now has a maximum of three days to explore a coalition. But he’s already making it clear today that he’s not particularly interested in it: “Together we will design the next race, which will start tomorrow. So that the next elections will confirm what the citizens have already decided at the ballot box.”
There is even a possible date for the new elections: July 2nd. Then a different electoral law applies, in which the winner gets up to 50 extra seats in parliament. Around 36 to 37 percent is enough to govern alone – or to continue to govern in Mitsotakis’ case.