Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced his intention to hold a new vote, just a day after his party’s success in the national elections, as the results failed to produce a single-party government.
The New Democracy party emerged victorious in the parliamentary elections on Sunday, securing a 20-point lead over its closest rival, marking its strongest performance since 2007. However, falling just short of the required majority by five seats, Mitsotakis faced the choice of forming a coalition or calling for a new election.
During a meeting with President Katerina Sakallaropoulou on Monday, Mitsotakis expressed the impossibility of forming a coalition under the current parliamentary composition. He recommended that Greece proceed with new elections “as soon as possible.”
An interim prime minister will soon be appointed, who will then call for the new elections.
The latest election saw New Democracy clinching a commanding lead with 40.8% of the vote, defeating the radical leftist Syriza, which governed from 2015 to 2019 and secured 20.1%.
President Sakellaropoulou had initially given the top three parties – New Democracy, Syriza, and the Socialist Pasok – three days each to attempt to form a coalition government. However, following Mitsotakis’s refusal, she will now appoint a caretaker government to prepare for the upcoming elections.
The next ballot will take place under a new electoral law, which grants a bonus of up to 50 seats to the winning party. Based on Sunday’s results and this calculation, New Democracy is virtually assured of a victory.
On Sunday, Mitsotakis declared that his party had received a clear mandate. Addressing supporters outside the party headquarters in Athens, he said, “The election results are decisive. They demonstrate that New Democracy has the people’s endorsement to govern with strength and autonomy.”
The outcome marked a significant boost for Mitsotakis, whose administration faced challenges such as a wiretapping scandal, the COVID-19 pandemic, a cost of living crisis, and a fatal rail crash that sparked public outrage in February.
However, it was a setback for Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras, a leftist firebrand who rose to power in 2015 amid voter discontent with other parties’ handling of the debt crisis that severely impacted Greece’s economy over the past decade.
Mitsotakis, a Harvard graduate and former McKinsey consultant, entered the elections as the favorite, benefiting from Greece’s relatively stable economic conditions. Unemployment and inflation have decreased, and this year’s growth is projected to be twice that of the EU. Nonetheless, concerns about stagnant wages and rising costs remained key issues for voters, which Tsipras attempted to exploit.
Despite his efforts, Tsipras could not stage a comeback after his initial mandate from 2015 to 2019, during which he led challenging negotiations with creditors that threatened Greece’s position in the Eurozone.
The socialist party Pasok-Kinal, led by Nikos Androulakis, was initially considered a potential coalition partner for Mitsotakis. However, the relationship soured when it was revealed that Androulakis had been under state surveillance. The wiretap scandal, which surfaced last year, led to the resignation of the head of the intelligence service and a nephew of Mitsotakis, who served as a top aide in his office.
Ahead of the vote, Androulakis firmly ruled out forming a partnership with Mitsotakis’s conservatives. Although the socialist party aligns more closely with Syriza in terms of policies, Androulakis stated in March that he would only support a coalition if neither Tsipras nor Mitsotakis became prime minister