President Kyriakos Mitsotakis is sworn-in as Prime Minister on Monday President Kyriakos Mitsotakis is sworn-in as Prime Minister on Monday  (ANSA)

Greek prime minister wins second term in runoff elections

Official results show voters gave Greece’s reformist Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis another four-year term in Sunday’s elections. He was credited with bringing the Greek economy to stability and growth after a severe debt crisis and three international bailouts, but he acknowledged that formidable challenges remain.

By Stefan J. Bos

Overnight, supporters of Greece’s ruling conservative New Democracy lit flares and used car horns as they celebrated that the party received a seal of approval, giving Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis a mandate for a second four-year term.

New Democracy garnered about 40.5 percent of the vote, almost 23 points ahead of the Syriza party.

Mr. Mitsotakis already beat Syriza in May. But he called for new elections to win a parliamentary majority that he believes could make it easier to continue economic and social reforms.

Speaking to supporters celebrating near party headquarters in Athens, he said that New Democracy is today the most powerful center-right party in Europe.

But the prime minister urged the party faithful not to forget the difficulties awaiting his government. 

“Friends, beware, this political dominance is not a recipe for arrogance or a blank check. What I will ask again of all our officials is to be grounded,” he said. “The citizens have many problems and demand us to solve these problems. Today I am the prime minister of all Greeks. And I express the hopes of our fellow citizens who did not support us.” 

Greeks struggling

Although many Greeks are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, many voters chose to stick with the party promising lower taxes and improved public health.

Mr. Mitsotakis, a 55-year-old former banker backed by a powerful political family, has promised to boost revenue from the vital tourist industry.

He also pledged to create jobs and increase wages to near the European Union average in a nation that received billions in bailouts from international lenders.

Sunday's elections came shortly after three days of mourning over a migrant boat tragedy off Greece where at least 500 people, including many children, are thought to have died.

This month’s disaster revived a debate in Greece about migration, with fringe parties of the political left and right - including an anti-immigrant party calling themselves the Spartans - getting into parliament.

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26 June 2023, 16:56