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Kyriakos Mitsotakis' New Democracy wins Greek general elections

Elections in Europe

Corinne Deloy

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27 June 2023
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Deloy Corinne

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).

Kyriakos Mitsotakis' New Democracy wins Greek general elections

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New Democracy (ND), the party led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, won a landslide victory in the general elections held on 25 June in Greece, with 40.55% of the vote and 158 of the 300 seats in the Vouli, the single chamber of Parliament (+12 compared to the previous general elections on 21 May). The party thus secured an absolute majority. The Coalition of the Radical Left-Progressive Alliance (SYRIZA), led by former prime minister (January-August 2015 and September 2015-July 2019) Alexis Tsipras, again suffered a severe defeat, winning 17.84% of the vote and 48 seats (down 23). The Panhellenic Socialist Movement-Movement for Change (PASOK-KINAL), led by Nikos Androulakis, came third with 11.85% of the vote and 32 seats (-9), followed by the Communist Party (KKE), led by Dimitris Koutsoumbas: 7.69% of the vote and 20 seats (-6). Next came The Spartans, the party of Ilias Kassidiaris, former spokesman for the far-right party Golden Dawn, who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence but who campaigned from his prison cell. He won 4.64% of the vote and 12 seats. Greek Solution (EL), an ultra-nationalist radical right-wing party founded and led by Kyriakos Velopoulos, won 4.34% of the vote and 12 seats. The Democratic Patriotic Movement-Victory (Niki), a radical right-wing party led by Dimitris Natsios, entered the Vouli with 3.69% and 10 seats. Lastly, Cape for Freedom (PE), the left-wing party of former Radical Left Coalition-Progressive Alliance member Zoe Konstantopoulou, former Speaker of the Greek Parliament (February-August 2015), won 3.17% and 8 seats. The general elections on 25 June followed the failure of politicians to form a government after the previous elections in Greece on 21 May, which were won by New Democracy but without an absolute majority. The elections were held under a new semi-proportional voting system, under which a bonus is awarded to the party that comes out ahead. This can be as many as 50 seats for a party that wins around 40% of the vote. Only one in two Greeks turned out to vote. As expected, turnout was therefore lower than on 21 May, at 52.82% (-8.12 points).

Results of the general elections of 25 June 2023 in Greece

Turnout: 52.82%

Source : https://ekloges.ypes.gr/current/v/home/parties/ "For the second time in just a few weeks, the people have not only sent a message of continuity on the path we mapped out four years ago, but they have given us a strong mandate to respond to our country's needs," Kyriakos Mitsotakis said when the results were announced. "I never promise miracles, but I assure you that I will remain faithful to my national duty", he added. Victory was expected and the dynamics were clearly on the side of New Democracy, which had won 146 seats on 21 May, just 5 short of an absolute majority. The gap between the leading party on the right - New Democracy - and that on the left - the Coalition of the Radical Left-Progressive Alliance - (20.72 points), the widest ever recorded since Greece's return to democracy in 1974, widened again: 22.71 points on 25 June. Kyriakos Mitsotakis was able to convince his compatriots by brandishing his socio-economic record: 8.3% GDP growth in 2021 and 5.9% in 2022 and a falling unemployment rate (10.9% compared with 22% 10 years ago). This rate has fallen by 17% among the youngest age group (17-29) over the last three years. The surprise of the election was the rise of the far or radical right. Two new parties entered the Greek Parliament, while the Greek Solution held its ground: the far-right Spartans, led by a man sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison for leading a criminal organisation involved in the 2013 murder in Keratsini (a suburb of Athens) of Pavlos Fyssas, a rapper and anti-fascist activist, and in attempted murders of Egyptian fishermen and communist trade unionists in 2012 and 2013; the Democratic Patriotic Movement-Victory (Niki), a xenophobic, homophobic, anti-abortion, anti-divorce party. These 3 parties are opposed to any reception of migrants. Their breakthrough (12.77%) came at a time when the electoral campaign was overshadowed by the sinking of a migrant boat with around 750 people on board off Pylos in the Peloponnese on 14 June. To date, the death toll from this tragedy stands at 82, with several hundred missing. The Greek coastguards have been accused of delaying the rescue of the migrants. The scheduled television debate between the candidates of the main parties for the post of prime minister was cancelled in the wake of the tragedy. Alexis Tsipras may well have called for a "strong opposition" and a "balance in our democracy and our political system", and warned his compatriots of the danger of giving Kyriakos Mitsotakis a blank cheque to carry out a "hidden agenda of policies that would undo social progress", but he did not succeed in persuading Greeks not to vote for New Democracy. "SYRIZA's setbacks partly reflect the enduring disillusionment of a number of left-wing voters with the party's U-turn on economic issues[1]. SYRIZA changed its strategy and moved ideologically towards the centre to win some of the votes there, but it didn't work", analysed Marina Prentoulis, Professor of Political Science at East Anglia University (UK). SYRIZA's defeat may well mark the end of the Tsipras era. Tsipras admitted that he had thought about resigning after the elections on 21 May. The question of his succession has been raised. He himself said that a great historic cycle had come to an end for his party. The ballot on 25 June attests to the change in the Greek political landscape. "New Democracy remains a major party in government, but SYRIZA is now a medium-sized party and PASOK a small to medium-sized force," said Panos Koliastasis, assistant professor of political science at the University of the Peloponnese. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, nicknamed Koulis, is 55 years old and a native of Athens. He is a graduate of the College of Athens and the universities of Harvard and Stanford (USA). He began his career as a financial analyst and has held a number of positions with several companies, including McKinsey. In 1999, he founded NBG Venture Capital, a company he ran until 2003, when he decided to enter politics. He was elected to parliament for the first time in the general elections of 7 March 2004 on the New Democracy ticket. In 2013, he was appointed Minister for Administrative Reform and E-Governance in the government of Antonis Samaras (ND), a post he held until 2015. In 2016, he became chairman of the party and led the opposition to then prime minister Alexis Tsipras. On 7 July 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis led New Democracy to victory in the general elections and became Prime Minister. Like many Greek politicians, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is a member of a dynasty: he is the son of former Prime Minister (1990-1993) Constantin Mitsotakis (ND). He is also the brother of the former Minister of Culture (1992-1993), Minister of Foreign Affairs (2006-2009) and Mayor of Athens (2003-2006), Dora Bakoyannis (ND), and the uncle of Kostas Bakoyannis (ND), Mayor of Athens since 2019.

[1] The party implemented severe austerity measures demanded by Greece's international creditors (European Union, World Bank, IMF) after coming to power in 2015, despite the majority of Greeks voting against such an approach in a referendum and despite its election campaign promises.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis' New Democracy wins Greek general elections

PDF | 185 koIn English

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