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Greece elections: Who is Kyriakos Mitsotakis? Alexis Tsipras' main leadership rival

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By Louise Miner  & Nikoleta Drougka
Greece elections: Who is Kyriakos Mitsotakis? Alexis Tsipras' main leadership rival

Greece goes to the polls on Sunday and conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has emerged as the main threat to incumbent PM, Alexis Tsipras. 

Mitsotakis said he wants to breathe new life into the economy and change the country’s image as Europe’s problem child after three bailouts since 2010.

Who is Kyriakos Mitsotakis?

Son of former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, Kyriakos was born into one of the most powerful political families in Greece.

His résumé includes studies at the prestigious universities Harvard and Stanford and employment at business consulting firms and Greek banks.

Maria Karaklioumi, a political analyst said New Democracy leader Mitsotakis is "a very experienced politician and he comes from a political family, meaning that he has a political tradition. People believe that Mitsotakis has experience as well as knowledge, because he used to work for banks in Greece, and they believe that he can combine his technocratic profile with his experience and that he can be a good prime minister."

The first time Mitsotakis ran for a seat in the Greek parliament was in 2004. He was elected in his constituency.

Through his political activity, he was designated as a moderate exponent of the liberal centre.

Minister for Administration Reform and e-Governance

From 2013 to 2015, he was Minister for Administrative Reform and e-Governance under right-wing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

He supervised the lay-off of thousands of public servants, inviting much criticism from his political opponents.

After the electoral defeat of New Democracy, Mitsotakis ran for party leader and succeeded, beating his opponent Evangelos Meimarakis.

"I think it's a disadvantage, his family name. Because people think that he was elected president of New Democracy because his name was Mitsotakis. But that is not true. He really fought a very difficult campaign," said political analyst Andreas Drimiotis.

Mitsotakis chose a hard opposition line against Alexis Tsipras and it seems to have paid off. He managed to win back and unite voters of the centre-right and right wing. The result was a big win for New Democracy in the European Elections.

For Alexis Tsipras, there was no other choice but to call for early national elections.

Euronews' correspondent in Athens, Nikoleta Drougka, noted that "up until the European Elections, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was particularly harsh in his criticism towards Syriza and Alexis Tsipras. But in his national elections campaign, he chose a more unifying profile, to attract voters from all over the political spectrum and form a majority government, which is his ultimate goal."

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