Greece’s conservative prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has won national elections, hailing his party’s big victory as a “political earthquake”.
His centre-right New Democracy party were heading for almost 41% of the vote, five seats short of a majority. His centre-left rival Alexis Tsipras congratulated him, with his Syriza party set for a poor result of 20%. Mr Mitsotakis said the result showed that Greeks had given his party a mandate for a four-year government.
“The people wanted the choice of a Greece run by a majority government and by New Democracy without the help of others,” he said in a victory speech.
Hours earlier party supporters in Athens cheered as an exit poll indicated the unexpected scale of New Democracy’s victory. As results emerged, it was clear that pre-election polls had underestimated the 20-point margin between the two main parties.
Mr Mitsotakis’s party won 146 seats, five seats short of the 151 required for a majority. An interior ministry vote map showed all but one of Greece’s electoral districts coloured in New Democracy blue.
The prime minister’s remarks were taken as indication that he would not look to share power with another party but go for a second election in late June, when the winning party picks up bonus seats.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou will offer him a mandate to form a coalition, which he is likely to refuse. She will then pass it to the next two parties, and if that fails she will arrange a caretaker government until new elections.
The result was an immense setback for Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, who described his party’s performance as “extremely negative”. He came to power in 2015 campaigning against the austerity of international bailouts, but ultimately agreed to creditors’ demands.
The centre-right has governed Greece for the past four years, and can boast that the country’s growth last year was close to 6%.
Mr Mitsotakis’s pitch to the nation was that only he could be trusted to steer the Greek economy forward and consolidate recent growth. Greeks appear to have responded positively – more than expected.
Giorgos Adamopoulos, 47, voted for New Democracy a few hundred metres from the Acropolis in Athens.
Greece deserved a better form of politics, he told the BBC, but he backed Mr Mitsotakis because he was impressed with his record after four years as prime minister.
Sourcе: BBC, Photo: facebook/kyriakosmitsotakis/