Elections in Greece on Sunday were won by New Democracy, the centre-right party of former prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. With about 90 percent of the votes counted, he obtained 40.5 percent of the votes, a result that will allow him to have 158 seats out of 300 in parliament and to govern without major problems alone. The other parties with the most votes were Syriza, the left-wing party led by Alexis Tsipras, which obtained 17.8 percent (equal to 47 seats), PASOK, the historic Greek centre-left party, which took about 12 percent (32 seats), and the Communist KKE, with 7.5 percent (20 seats), followed by the far-right parties Spartans and Greek Solution (both with just over 4 percent and 13 and 12 seats respectively). .
Today was the second election in Greece in just over a month. Already in the May elections, New Democracy clearly won, with 40.7 percent of the vote against Syriza’s 20 percent. But despite the good result it had obtained only 146 seats out of the 300 that make up the unicameral parliament of Greece, and therefore it had not managed to reach an absolute majority. Mitsotakis, convinced that he could improve his result with a new vote, had refused to form a coalition government, and since all the other parties had not been able to form an executive within a few days, new elections had been called .
In the May elections, however, they voted with a pure proportional system, while in Sunday’s elections a new electoral system approved in 2020 by the Mitsotakis government came into force, which assigns a flexible majority bonus: the winning party of the elections gets 20 more seats if it reaches 25 per cent of the vote and up to 50 more seats if it reaches 40 per cent.
For this, but not only, the victory of New Democracy was widely expected. Mitsotakis is very popular in the country, mainly due to the great economic successes achieved in his years in government. Starting from some good results of the previous government led by Alexis Tsipras, who had been prime minister between 2015 and 2019, Mitsotakis has adopted economic policies designed to favor businesses (on which he has significantly lowered taxes) and stimulate investment.
Greece has had a period of fairly strong economic growth, the unemployment rate has more than halved since its peak in 2015 (it was 27.5 per cent, today it is just over 11) and for the first time since over a decade of cuts, the government has increased pensions and the minimum wage, albeit slightly. Greece has also repaid early International Monetary Fund loans that were taken out during the sovereign debt crisis and many believe that for the first time in 13 years its government bonds could get a positive rating from rating agencies.
However, Mitsotakis’ economic management was not without controversy: in particular, the country’s growth is considered rather uneven, and the deficit it’s still high: it means that the Greek state spends more than it earns, and this could be a long-term problem.
In recent weeks, the electoral campaign had focused above all on the case of the sinking of the migrant boat off the coast of Pilos, in which hundreds of people are estimated to have died and which is one of the most serious disasters in recent years in the Mediterranean. In Greece the debate had focused on the presumed responsibilities of the Coast Guard and on the extreme harshness of the migration policies wanted by the government. Mitsotakis had responded to the accusations by defending the Coast Guard and arguing that smugglers were responsible, whom he called “wretched” and “human scum”.