Greece: Conservatives on track for decisive election win

Greek opposition New Democracy conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivers his speech after win the parliamentary elections at the New Democracy ...
Greek opposition New Democracy conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivers his speech after winning  the parliamentary elections

Greece’s opposition conservatives were on track to return to power by a landslide on Sunday, early results showed, unseating incumbent leftists blamed for foisting a bailout on the country which critics say was unnecessary.

The win appeared driven by fatigue with years of European Union-enforced belt-tightening, combined with high unemployment, after the country almost crashed out of the euro zone at the height of its financial travails in 2015.

Exit polls gave conservative New Democracy a commanding lead of between 38 and 42 percent of the vote, suggesting an outright majority in Greece’s parliament.

An official interior ministry projection gave New Democracy 39.8 percent and Syriza about 31.5 percent. New Democracy, led by opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was seen winning between 155 and 167 seats in the 300 member parliament.

 Shortly after the projection was announced, incumbent Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Mitsotakis to congratulate him, a New Democracy official said. The handover would take place on Monday, after Mitsotakis’s swearing in as new Prime Minister.

“Greece has signalled to Europe that it is time to put populism behind us,” said Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou, a senior lawmaker with New Democracy.

Sunday’s poll was the first national election since the country shook off close scrutiny by its European partners who loaned Greece billions in three bailouts.

Tsipras signed up to the latest, in 2015, in return for potential debt relief.

Mitsotakis, 51, assumed the helm of New Democracy in 2016.  Although he is regarded as a liberal, his party also harbours members with more right-wing views.

Golden Dawn, an extreme right-wing party detractors accuse of having neo-Nazi sympathies, lost significant ground with early results suggesting it may not reach the 3 percent threshold to parliament.

Snap election

“The basic reason (for the result) is the economy,” said analyst Theodore Couloumbis. “In the past 4.5 years people saw no improvement, on the contrary there were cutbacks in salaries and pensions,” he said.

Greece endured a debilitating financial crisis from 2010 that required three cash lifelines from its euro zone partners.

The focus now turns to Mitsotakis’s picks for the key economics ministries finance, energy, development and foreign affairs. He has been tight-lipped on choices during the campaign.

Mitsotakis will inherit an economy that is growing at a moderate clip at a 1.3% annual pace in the first quarter and public finances that may fall short of targets agreed with official lenders.

The Bank of Greece projects that the 3.5% of GDP primary surplus target that excludes debt servicing outlays is likely to be missed this year and reach just 2.9% of economic output.

With Greece still challenged by its debt overhang, the fiscal policy stance of the new government will be closely watched.

The real test will be next year’s budget with Mitsotakiss expected to outline the key contours in the traditional economic address in Thessaloniki in September.

“I want the government that will be elected to do its best for the people, who are hungry,” said pensioner Christos Mpekos, 69. “To give jobs to the young so they don’t leave.”

Tsipras says that a vote cast for Mitsotakis would go to the political establishment, which forced Greece to the edge of the precipice in the first place.

But he has also been roundly criticised for mismanagement of crises and for brokering a deeply unpopular deal to end a dispute over the name of neighbouring North Macedonia.

Greece wrapped up its last economic adjustment programme in 2018 but remains under surveillance from lenders to ensure no future fiscal slippage. While economic growth has returned, Greek unemployment of 18 percent is the euro zone’s highest.

New Democracy has promised to invest in creating well-paid jobs with decent benefits. It has also promised to be tough on crime in some neighbourhoods of Athens where there is a strong anarchist movement.

In one neighbourhood, activists stormed a polling station and made off with a ballot box.

(REUTERS)/FRANCE24

  • Ivan Kochman

    Nuž Grécko je pre vás výstrahou ako to dopadne keď sa začnete spoliehať na mediálnu šou. Tsipras je typickým príkladom dopredu obsadenej pozície síce z názvom ľavicovej, teda akože hrá sa na ľavičiara ale v podstate má udržať finančné myslenie i väzenie a nie z neho ľudí oslobodiť. Nuž antikrist sa na Grécku i jeho ľude riadne vyzúril a teraz skúša pokračovať ďalej. V Grécku teraz prebieha masívna podnikateľská propaganda kde každý čo sa nechá na to nalákať vyhorí až dovtedy kým neklesne od naloženého na ňom. Poznám krajinu kde sa na nej uskutočnil taký pokus a ľudia prestali byť ľuďmi a tam kde kedysi bola srdečnosť a dobroprajnosť samozrejmosťou je všetko len z vypočítavosti a chradne ten ľud pred mojimi očami. A šou pokračuje ďalej a v klamstve. Veru rozumiem slovám Pánovým o tých ľuďoch čo zrádzajú ľudí i rozumiem vyslovenému- lepšie by im bolo keby sa nenarodili.

    • Arzna

      This is an English language website . Very few people in the world know Czech.
      Prosím, napište anglicky

      • Ivan Kochman

        Nemám rozprávať anglickým jazykom tak sa ho ani neučím. Však sa opýtaj sám seba ak niekto slúži Pánovi, ktorý jazyk má povýšiť nad tie ostatné? Pouč sa z osudu rímskej ríše a ako to dopadlo keď kresťanský duchovný zachovali ten jazyk i v ňom komunikovali i učili. Nuž moc dobre to pre nasledujúce generácie nedopadlo, ak je raz niečo Bohom odsúdené na záhubu tak to ani nemáš nasilu zachovávať. Tak sa nediv že sa riadim podľa toho ako mi je povedané a rozprávam po slovensky a neprisahám ti že ani ten jazyk bude zachovaný. Viac ti na tomto mieste o tom nepoviem lebo všetko čo je tu v médiách povedané obracia sa v skazu.

        • Niemals

          You are from Dudince a population of 2,000.
          It is known for its healing mineral waters, thermal pools and spas.

          Are trying to heal with your texts about the Lord or you trying to get more visitors to Dudinces (southern Slovakia) spa?

          • Ivan Kochman

            Však hej ak by taká osobnosť umrela, určite by si tam potom našiel stánok kde bude tisíc hrnčekov z ktorých tá osobnosť pila kávu každý deň i tisíc lyžičiek s ktorou si tú kávu každý deň aj miešala. Áno je jasné v akom naučení ste aj od koho to máte. Nuž poviem ti ako to dopadne, dopadne to presne tak isto ako to dopadlo v dnešný deň v Grécku a ver mi že ten čo sa dal nalákať na turistický biznis sa veľmi popáli.

        • Arzna

          Ivan , you remind me of a good friend of mine from Bratislava. He loved to talk and argue about issues even when no one was listening. Slovak language is beautiful for people who understand it, but for those who don’t what you have been writing about is a waste of time and effort even though you mean well in all your comments

          • Ivan Kochman

            Keby to tak bolo ako to hovoríš tak ani nepíšem ale ja sa s nikým hádať o tom nebudem. A sú ľudia ktorý striehnu na každé jedno slovo čo mám dať. Jedny pre to, druhý pre ono ani o tom sa hádať nemusím. Však viď kráľ Saudskej arábie, jedno mu bolo povedané jasne a priamo čo má v daný čas urobiť a ten čo striehol na slovo mu to preložil podľa svojho srdca a vidíš ako ten kráľ dopadol. A tak je to pri mnohých veciach čo boli vyslovené, mne bolo dané v tú chvíľu povedať to či ono a Ten čo mi dal to slovo pozeral ako s tým slovom bude aj naložené. A je to tak ako to bolo pri súde nad Ježišom a čo si ľudia aj vybrali. Takže starám sa o tú tvoju skrytú identitu? Nie nemusím lebo idete v naučení toho komu bolo dané nad týmto miestom aj vládnuť teda v naučení tohoto času že sa tak aj skryjete. Inak ak by si niekto toto vykladal podľa naučenia proroka Mohameda o človekovi ktorý ani anjelom Božím nesmel prezradiť svoje meno. Tak vedz že je to zlý výklad inak presne taký istý ako bol daný kráľovi Saudskej Arábie.