Greece: clear winner - but new elections looming?

Incumbent Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his liberal-conservative Nea Dimokratia party have won a clear victory in Greece’s parliamentary elections with 40.8 percent of the vote. The left-wing Syriza party trailed far behind with 20.1 percent. Mitsotakis is just a few seats short of being able to form a majority government and has ruled out a coalition. If no government can be formed, new elections will follow in which the strongest party receives a bonus of at least 20 seats.

De Standaard (BE) /

A desire for stability

Postponing the elections paid off for Mitsotakis, De Standaard comments:

“In late February 57 people — many of them students — were killed in a train crash near Larissa. The tragedy exposed many Greek abuses and contradicted Mitsotakis’ narrative that he had modernised the country. The prime minister ate humble pie and even postponed the elections in the hope that the anger over the disaster would gradually subside. And it worked. Greeks clearly opted for stability and rewarded the prime minister for a series of macroeconomic successes, such as the decline in public debt and unemployment.”

Bart Beirlant
Kathimerini (GR) /

The trauma of unfulfilled promises

Voters no longer see Syriza as a credible alternative, the conservative daily Kathimerini concludes:

“As it turns out, the trauma of the reckless promises of 2015, the adventure of the [reform] referendum when a No became a Yes, and the negative impression left by the ‘first left’ government are wounds that have not yet healed. ... This defeat does not come out of the blue. In the last four years the opposition party has consistently fallen short not only of the government’s share of the vote, but also of the share it secured in the 2019 elections. ... In people’s minds, Syriza has become a party of the system. However, its leadership has continued to invest heavily in an anti-system course.”

Dora Antoniou
Efimerida ton Syntakton (GR) /

Pendulum swinging globally to the right

The result can’t be put down to national developments, writes the left-leaning daily Efimerida ton Syntakton:

“The ultra-conservative wind blowing in France, Italy and many other European countries — but also in the US with Trumpism — has now also come to Greece. ... If Evia, which burned for days, or Larissa after Tempi gave an overwhelming majority to Nea Demokratia, something is wrong with democracy in Greece. This is not scaremongering but a Europe-wide phenomenon that the left must take seriously: the worldwide conservative wave is leaving no country untouched. The pendulum seems to be swinging in the opposite direction than in the 60s and 70s.”

Tasos Tsakiroglou
Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Majority government in the bag after the next round

In Corriere della Sera’s opinion, a coalition government is highly unlikely:

“The plan is now clear, and it is the one announced. Under the current electoral law, Nea Dimokratia gets between 145 and 146 MPs, 5 to 6 short of an absolute majority. Now, of course Mitsotakis could form an alliance with the [social democratic] Pasok, which now has the power to tip the scales having secured around 12 percent of the vote. But the Pasok leader has waved off and Mitsotakis doesn’t want this either. It is better for him not to reach an agreement and to go into a ‘second round’ instead. ... Under the electoral law that then applies and which gives the winner a big bonus: if Mitsotakis gets yesterday’s votes in July, he will be entitled to so many MPs that he won’t have to consult anyone.”

Irene Soave