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Kyriakos Mitsotakis wins second term as Greek PM after historic election win for New Democracy

Kyriakos Mitsotakis leader of center-right New Democracy hugs his family at the headquarters of the party in Athens, Greece, Sunday, June 25, 2023.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis leader of center-right New Democracy hugs his family at the headquarters of the party in Athens, Greece, Sunday, June 25, 2023. Copyright Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be Greece's prime minister for the second time after a historic victory for his New Democracy party in an election that also sees the new far-right Spartans party enter parliament

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Victory for Mitsotakis and the New Democracy party comes despite anger over the death of hundreds of migrants who died off southern Greece when an overcrowded fishing trawler heading from Libya to Italy capsized and sank.

Clearly that anger did little to dent the popularity of the 55-year-old and his party, which had been predicted to win comfortably after winning 40.79% of the vote (146 seats) in the first round on May 21. 

Sunday's poll victory gives his party 158 seats (with 95% of votes counted) having also benefitted from new rules that award bonus seats to the winning party.

Speaking to supporters after results were declared, Mitsotakis said: "For the second time in a few weeks, the citizens have not just sent a message of continuity on the path we set out four years ago, but they gave us a strong mandate to move faster on the road to meet the great needs that our country has.”

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Alexis Tsipras after voting on Sunday morningLefteris Pitarakis/AP

Mitsotakis' main rival in the poll was the left-wing Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras, but it was a bad day for the former prime minister's party - in fact, the result represents a historical low for his party. 

With 47 seats Syriza came out over a hundred behind in second place.

No opposition party has lost by such a large margin since 1974.

Tsipras admitted it was a disappointing result. 

“We have suffered a serious electoral defeat but I believe that the election result is mainly negative for society and for democracy," he said. 

"The emergence of three far-right parties in Parliament, one of which has fascist extensions and connections, combined with the majority of Mr Mitsotakis' right, is a negative development."

The winners

Eight parties will share the 300 parliamentary seats.

They include the far-right Spartiates (Spartans) party led by Vasilis Stigkas. The eurosceptic, ultranationalist party was endorsed by jailed neo-Nazi Ilias Kasidiaris of the now defunct Golden Dawn party.

The Spartans had to cross the 3% threshold but had already scored nearly 5% with 90% of the votes counted, giving them 13 seats.

Sharing the chamber with them will be the left-wing Pasok party (32 seats), which took the third largest share of the vote, albeit well below New Democracy and Syriza.

On the far left and coming fourth in the race with 20 seats is the KKE - the Communist Party of Greece.

The others include Plefsi Eleftherias (Freedom Sailing), the party of Zoe Konstantpoulou who was the president of the Hellenic Parliament for six months in 2015 when Syriza came to power for the first time and was once an ally of Tsipras. They are awarded eight seats. 

And there is the conservative Niki (Victory) party, led by Dimitris Natsios, a theologist with strong bonds to the Orthodox Church. They take 10 seats.

The populist and pro-Russian Elliniki Lisi party (Greek Solution) will also be represented with 12 seats. 

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Mitsotakis the friend of business

As Greece gradually recovers from its brutal financial crisis, voters appear happy to return to power a prime minister who delivered economic growth and lowered unemployment. 

The prime ministers of Croatia and Finland were among the first politicians to congratulate Mitsotakis.

He has rebranded Greece as a pro-business and fiscally responsible eurozone member, a stance appreciated by investors: it is expected for the country to soon regain investment grade status, more than 12 years after losing its rating, and marking an end to the dark days of the financial crisis.

Mitsotakis, a Harvard graduate, comes from one of Greece’s most prominent political families. His late father, Constantine Mitsotakis, served as prime minister in the 1990s, his sister served as foreign minister and his nephew is the current mayor of Athens.

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