Greek Premier’s Party Loses Votes In Ballot But Rules Out Coalition Government

Sunday, May 21, 2023 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

ATHENS (Worthy News) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party did not win enough votes to form a one-party government. But he appeared to rule out talks to form a coalition, setting the stage for a second vote in weeks.

Greece is still recovering from significant economic challenges following a European Union multi-billion dollar bailout that still impacts society today.

Sunday’s vote pitched conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 55, a Harvard-educated former banking executive, against 48-year-old Alexis Tsipras, who heads the left-wing Syriza party. Tsipras served as prime minister during some of the financial crisis’ most turbulent years.

Mitsotakis described the preliminary outcome as a “political earthquake” that called for an “experienced hand to the helm” of Greece. He said negotiations with fractious potential coalition partners would only lead to a dead end.

His liberal-conservative New Democracy was leading with a 20-point margin over the Syriza party trailing at just over 20.07% – a difference rarely seen since the collapse in 1974 of military rule, analysts said.

Even in Crete, seen as a socialist bastion, the rightwing party had fared unexpectedly well.

With the most votes in his pocket, Mitsotakis greeted a crowd of cheering supporters outside his party’s office in Athens.


“We kept the country upright, and we’ve laid the foundations for a better nation,” he said. “We will fight the next battle together so that at the next elections, what we already decided on, an autonomous New Democracy, will be realized.”

Smaller parties, including MeRa 25, headed by the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, failed to pass the 3 percent threshold to get into parliament.

KKE, the Communist party, came in with 7.1
percent of the vote doing exceptionally well in urban centers, election observers said.

The inconclusive result will lay the ground for a fresh ballot in July if, as expected, efforts to form a coalition government break down.

The second-round poll, due July 2, will take place under a semi-proportional representation system that would grant the first party 50 bonus seats if it won 40 percent of the vote.

On Monday, as protocol demands, Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, was to hand Mitsotakis a three-day mandate to explore forming a coalition.

Aides said the 55-year-old leader would prefer a repeat poll of a single-party government was “more than possible.”


Sunday’s elections in the country of 10.5 million people was the first time people went to the polls in a national vote since their country’s economy ceased to be subject to strict supervision and control by international lenders.

The EU and others had provided bailout funds during its nearly decade-long financial crisis.

In power since 2019, Mitsotakis has delivered unexpectedly high growth, a steep drop in unemployment, and a country.

Greece is also on the brink of returning to investment grade on the global bond market for the first time since it lost market access in 2010, at the start of its financial crisis, financial analysts said.

Debts to the International Monetary Fund (IMF were paid off early.

European governments and the IMF pumped 280 billion euros ($300 billion) into the Greek economy in emergency loans between 2010 and 2018 to prevent the eurozone member from bankruptcy.

In return, they demanded punishing cost-cutting measures and reforms that saw the country’s economy shrink by a quarter.
Yet the rising cost of living was a major concern as voters headed to polling centers in schools across the country.

A severe recession and years of emergency borrowing left Greece with a whopping national debt that reached 400 billion euros last December. It hammered household incomes, which will likely need another decade to recover.

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