The European Elections Monitor

Open panel Open panel
The European Elections Monitor
Politics and democracy
Greece - General Elections

The right-wing opposition wins the general election in Greece

The right-wing opposition wins the general election in Greece

09/07/2019 - Results

New Democracy (ND), the main right-wing opposition party led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, easily won the general election in Greece on 7th July taking 39.85% of the vote and 158 of the 300 seats in the Vouli Ton Ellinon (parliament) (+83 in comparison with the previous elections on 20th September 2015). It came out ahead of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), a radical left-wing party led by outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras which won 31.53% of the vote and 86 seats (- 59).

The Movement for Change (Kinima allagis, KINAL), a party born of the merger between the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the Democratic Socialist Movement (KIDISO), led by Fofi Gennimata, came third with 8.1% of the vote and 22 seats. It is followed by the Communist Party (KKE), led by Dimitris Koutsoumbas, which won 5.3% of the vote and 15 seats (=); the Greek Solution (EL), a nationalist party led by Kyriakos Velopoulos, which won 3.7% and 10 seats and the European Realistic Disobedience Front (MeRA25), a left-wing party led by former Finance Minister in Alexis Tsipras's government (January-July 2015) Yanis Varoufakis, which won 3.44% and 9 seats.

Golden Dawn (XA), a far-right party led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, failed to win the required 3% of the vote, the minimum threshold to enter parliament and will therefore not be represented.

Turnout was slightly higher than that recorded in the previous election on 20th September 2015 (+ 1.35 points) totalling 57.92%.

It is obligatory to vote in Greece up to the age of 70 and abstention is officially punished by a term in prison ranging from one month to a year, as well as the dismissal from work of the offender, but sanctions are not implemented.

Results of the general election on 7th July 2019 in Greece
Turnout: 57.92% (it is obligatory to vote)

Source: Ministry of Interior

"A painful cycle has closed. It is a new day that is breaking for Greece," declared Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the announcement of the results. The New Democracy leader can rejoice at having won the majority he had hoped for. "I asked you for a strong majority to be able to change Greece. You have offered it generously to me. From now on a magnificent battle will begin," he declared adding, "it is a great day for democracy. Men and women hold the future of this country in their hands."

Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised to reboot the Greek economy by attracting investors and reform the tax system. He hopes to reduce corporate tax from 28% to 20%, reduce the lowest level of VAT to 11% and cap the highest rate at 22% and finally to reduce tax on real estate for private, and legal persons and also on land by 30 points. "Everyone, even our creditors, seems to agree with the idea that we must reduce taxes," declared Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was asked to dismiss 15,000 civil servants when he was the Minister for the Reform of the Civil Service and Governance (2013-2015), promised that there would be no dismissals from the civil service.

"The economy explains the results of the general election. Over the last four years, people have seen no improvement in their situation. On the contrary, there have been cuts in wages and pensions," indicated Theodore Couloumbis, a teacher of political science at the University of Athens.

"It is with our heads held high that we accept the popular verdict. To bring Greece to where it is today, we have had to take some difficult decisions which have had a high political price," declared Alexis Tsipras after the announcement of the results.

Alexis Tsipras lost a major share of his electoral base, which for a long time was receptive to his charisma, and who especially believed in his promises. The outgoing Prime Minister was indeed elected on the rejection of memorandums and of the austerity policy, but less than a year after he reached office, he signed a third rescue plan which forced Athens to adopt strict austerity measures.

Aged 51, and from Athens, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, nicknamed Koulis, is a graduate of the College of Athens and of the Universities of Harvard and Stanford (USA). He started his career as a financial analyst and held several posts in companies such as McKinsey & Company. In 1999, he founded NBG Venture Capital, a company he led until 2003 when he decided to enter politics.

He was elected a first time to parliament during the elections on 7th March 2004. In 2013 he was appointed Minister for the Reform of the Civil Service and Governance in the government of Antonis Samaras (ND), a post he retained until 2015. The following year he became the leader of New Democracy to head the opposition against Alexis Tsipras. As is often the case in Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis belongs to a dynasty: he is the son of former Prime Minister (1990-1993) Constantin Mitsotakis.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The author
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Other stages