Political parties in Greece are holding their last election rallies on Friday as the country is heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new four-year Parliament.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis is close to a landslide victory according to a series of opinion polls that give his New Democracy (ND) party an even larger winning margin than the vote held in May.
ND won May 21 vote with a 20-point lead over main opposition SYRIZA, a margin Greece has not seen since the 1970s. But it fell short of the majority needed to rule alone due to a proportional voting system in place for that poll.
This time the poll is being held under a different system, meaning Mitsotakis stands to gain a larger share of seats in parliament if he repeats — or betters — his May performance, as polls suggest he will.
The frontrunner is holding his last pre-election rally at Syntagma Square in Athens on Friday evening.
“In no way do I consider that the result of the ballot box is a given,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with SKAI TV on Friday.
He invited all citizens to go to the polls, pointing out that the result of May 21 does not count. “My appeal is for everyone to exercise their right to vote again,” he stressed.
Mitsotakis added that his goal is to achieve a comfortable functional majority. He also refuted assertions of his “arrogance” and “omnipotence” in governance if he gets a high percentage.
“The greater the mandate of the people, the greater the responsibility and the demands,” he reiterated.
Tsipras warning before the election in Greece
His closest opponent, SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras offered a “clear choice” facing the Greek people when they go the polls.
Speaking at the party’s main campaign speech in Syntagma Square in Athens on Thursday night he said the election will determine “what kind of Greece we want our children to live in.”
Tsipras stressed that there are only two alternative plans of rule and governance competing. One is SYRIZA’s plan of a country with justice and prosperity for all, fewer inequalities, equal access to medical services and drugs, and better pay.
On the other hand, he said, is the ND’s plan, which prioritizes profits, shrinks the role of the state, and calculates profits and losses but not human lives.
Tsipras warned that ND plans to give tax breaks to the powerful and reduce labor costs while withdrawing the public sector from critical sectors, in order to allow profiteering funds to grow.
The vote will be conducted in the shadow of a migrant trawler shipwreck on June 14 that claimed at least 82 lives, with hundreds more feared missing and unlikely to be found.
But the tragedy is not expected to heavily influence the election result.
The Supreme Court ruled that 26 political parties, 4 alliances, and 2 independents had met the criteria to contest the election, 13 out of which had also participated in the previous election.