Greek PM eyes fresh election to bolster mandate

Greek PM eyes fresh election to bolster mandate

Greece’s ruling New Democracy party has secured a crushing general election victory, the first Greek ruling party to increase its vote share for over 40 years.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 55, was rejecting the formation of a coalition government on Monday amid the prospect of another election by early July in the hope of securing an overall majority under a different voting system.

Mitsotakis’s centre-right party defied polls that pointed to a close election, gaining more than 40 per cent of the vote.

The left-wing opposition Syriza secured approximately 20 per cent of votes and Pasok took around 12 per cent from Greece’s 9 million voters.

Mitsotakis, who has been prime minister since April 2019, has three days to form a coalition, which is seen as unlikely.

Greek election rules mean a second election uses a semi-proportional representation system, with a sliding scale seat boost, increasing the chances of an outright win for Mitsotakis. The next election is due by July 2, if no coalition is formed.

Mitsotakis won despite widespread discontent over low salaries, price rises and several corruption scandals.

Mitsotakis admitted last year that the national intelligence service, which is subject to his authority, had been monitoring the mobile of Nikos Androulakis, the leader of Pasok.

Androulakis has not ruled out joining a coalition but only if Mitsotakis is not prime minister.

Reforms and foreign investments overseen by Mitsotakis, a Harvard-educated former financial analyst, have turned Greece from a problem for the eurozone into one of the fastest growing EU economies.

Mitsotakis’s moves to calm tensions with Turkey over energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean have won him international praise amid repeated sabre-rattling from Ankara.

Unemployment peaked in 2015 at 27.5 per cent – and at 58 per cent for the under-25s – as Greece’s economy contracted by 25 per cent in a downturn seen as severe as the US Great Depression of the 1930s.

Under Mitsotakis, unemployment has fallen to 10 per cent but almost 25 per cent of under-24s are jobless.

Eurostat has reported that up to 14 per cent of Greece’s under-30s are “severely materially or socially deprived”, more than twice the EU average.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis with his supporters after the election. Picture credit: YouTube

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.