Greece’s PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis achieved a remarkable victory in Sunday’s Parliamentary elections as his New Democracy (ND) party won by more than 20 percentage points against the main opposition SYRIZA.
However, due to the electoral system of proportional representation, he has not garnered a lead wide enough to avoid a new vote.
According to results – with almost all votes counted – ND claims 145 seats in a 300-seat Parliament, not enough for a stand-alone government. A second round of voting in late June or early July is all but certain.
According to the election results:
New Democracy (Kyriakos Mitsotakis): 40.78% and 145 seats
SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance (Alexis Tsipras): 20.07% and 72 seats
PASOK-KINAL (Nikos Androulakis): 11.53% and 41 seats
Communist Party of Greece (Dimitris Koutsoubas): 7.20% and 26 seats
Greek Solution (Kyriakos Velopoulos): 4.46% and 16 seats
Yanis Varoufakis’ party MeRA25 with 2.59% did not make the 3% threshold to enter Parliament, along with Niki (Dimitris Natsios, 2.92%) and Plefsi Eleftherias (Zoi Konstantopoulou, former Parliament speaker, 2.87%).
Voter turnout was 60.73%, parties that did not make it into Parliament account for 15.96% of votes, and invalid or blank votes totaled 2.61%.
— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) May 21, 2023
There is a difference of almost the double between ND and Syriza. ND seems to have managed to increase its percentage from previous elections – that’s a first.
Mitsotakis called Sunday’s election results “a political earthquake,” and promised to work harder on reforms that will bring Greece on par with European standards.
In a statement after New Democracy was shown to have won 58 of 59 electoral districts in Greece, Mitsotakis said that the country needs a strong government that can implement the necessary reforms.
“New Democracy has the approval to govern independently and strongly,” he said, “which is what voters requested in an emphatic and absolute manner. They asked us to progress faster.”
He added that Greek voters recognized the need for a single-party government, which would mean runoff elections a month from now. This, Mitsotakis said, would prevent Greece from getting involved in fruitless negotiations for a coalition government.
“Tonight one cycle ends and another one begins, which we will walk through together, with the language of truth and the trust we have built with great effort,” he underlined, thanking the voters.
Elections in Greece suggest new round
The new election system based on a simple proportional system and the parties’ apparent unwillingness to cooperate means that a second round of voting in late June or early July is all but certain.
Mitsotakis will have three days to negotiate a coalition with one or more other parties. If that fails, the mandate to form a government is then given to the second party.
But deep divisions between the two main parties and four smaller ones expected to enter parliament mean a coalition will be hard to come by, making a second election likely on July 2.
The second election would be held under a new electoral law which makes it easier for a winning party to form a government by giving it a bonus of up to 50 seats.
A total of 36 parties and party coalitions are running. Parties that receive at least 3 percent of the vote will share 285 parliamentary seats according to their percentage of the vote.
The remaining 12 seats will be divided among state deputies elected by each party, and the last three will be filled by candidates elected by Greeks voting abroad.
The voting process began on Saturday with the votes cast by Greeks registered to vote abroad.
9.8 million voters were registered to elect the deputies of the next Greek parliament. Of this number, 400,000 were first-time voters.
21,529 polling stations in Greece opened at 7:00 on Sunday and shut at 19:00 on Sunday evening.
Mitsotakis has campaigned on the back of four years of tax cuts, tourism revival and steady growth, and has warned that denying his ND party a strong mandate would lead to “paralysis” at a time of international uncertainty.
The outgoing prime minister has urged voters not to squander hard-fought economic stability. But his key opponent, the former leftist premier Alexis Tsipras, has warned that the rosy hardline figures belie growing poverty as wages fail to keep pace with rising prices.