Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | ePaper

Conservative Mitsotakis vows to make Greece 'proud' after vote triumph

  • Print


Greece's newly elected prime minister and leader of conservative New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaks to the press outside the party's headquarters after the official results of the elections, in Athens on 8 July 2019.

AFP . Athens :
Greece's newly elected prime minister and leader of conservative New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaks to the press outside the party's headquarters after the official results of the elections, in Athens on 7 July 2019. Photo: AFPGreece's conservative prime minister-elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis vowed that the country would "proudly" enter a post-bailout period of "jobs, security and growth" after winning a landslide victory in Sunday's general election.
Official results showed Mitsotakis on track to crush leftist premier Alexis Tsipras, who oversaw austerity meausures after Greece's dramatic rescue by international creditors in the European debt crisis.
"A painful cycle has closed," Mitsotakis said in a televised address, adding that Greece would "proudly raise its head again" on his watch. "I will not fail to honour your hopes," he said as early congratulation calls came from outgoing European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With official results from 94 per cent of polling stations, New Democracy scored a crushing victory by nearly 40 percent-its best score in over a decade-to 31.5 per cent for Tsipras's leftist Syriza party.
"I want to see this people prosper. I want to see the children who left to return," he later told party supporters.
Mitsotakis will be sworn in as Greece's new prime minister on Monday.
Tsipras had earlier admitted defeat after over four years in power that saw Greece emerge from its third bailout.
The 44-year-old warned that his Syriza party would "dynamically" resist efforts to scale back the party's pro-labour reforms.
If the results are confirmed, the 51-year-old Harvard graduate and former McKinsey consultant Mitsotakis will have a majority of 158 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament. Tsipras's party will have 86 seats.
The final number will depend on how smaller parties fare. They need at least 3.0 per cent of the vote to enter parliament.
New Democracy was last in power in 2014, in coalition with the Greek socialists.
Mitsotakis is a scion of one of Greece's top political families.
He is the son of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, one of the country's longest-serving parliamentarians.
His sister is former minister Dora Bakoyannis, Athens's first female mayor. And new Athens mayor Costas Bakoyannis, elected in May, is his nephew.
Sunday's election was Greece's third in as many months, and the first held in midsummer since 1928.
In May, New Democracy beat Syriza by nearly 9.5 points in European parliament elections. A week later, it completed a near-sweep of Greek regions in local elections.
After that, Tsipras was forced to call an early general election. His term was scheduled to end in the autumn.
Greece's youngest premier in more than a century, Tsipras had trailed in the polls for months amid widespread dissatisfaction over high taxes.
"Greece is exiting 10 years of crisis and the new government will have the heavy task to give a chance to the country to recover completely or to sink", 36-year-old Aphrodite told AFP, as she cast her vote in the bohemian downtown Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia.
"I hope that from tomorrow we will be able to breathe with relief. To take a deep breath, if Mitsotakis does what he promises," added Athinodoros, a 48-year-old self-employed worker.
Tsipras has accused Mitsotakis-who was part of a 2012-2014 crisis government-of "disastrous" mismanagement that brought hundreds of thousands of job losses and business failures.
Mitsotakis has now pledged to create "better" jobs through growth, foreign investment and tax cuts and to "steamroll" obstacles to business.
Tsipras-who reduced unemployment and raised the minimum wage for the first time since 2012 -- was criticised for campaigning as an anti-austerity crusader before eventually accepting a third EU bailout and the economic cutbacks that entailed.
In parts of the country, there was also a backlash against a controversial agreement with North Macedonia that ended a bitter 27-year dispute over the country's name.
The new smaller parties fighting to secure representation are Greek Solution, a nationalist party formed by TV salesman Kyriakos Velopoulos, and MeRA25, an anti-austerity party founded by maverick economist and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
According to the exit polls, Varoufakis's party could elect nine lawmakers.
Greek Solution could end up with 10 deputies, while neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn looks likely to be shut out of parliament for the first time since 2012.
Golden Dawn, until recently Greece's third-ranking party, is in steep decline amid an ongoing trial for the 2013 murder of an anti-fascist rapper, allegedly carried out with the knowledge of senior Golden Dawn members.
Mitsotakis has promised to hit the ground running. A Eurogroup finance meeting on Monday will convene to discuss the state of Greece's economy after tax cuts rolled out by Tsipras in May.

More News For this Category

Locking up Muslims in Xinjiang, China opens its doors to tourists

Locking up Muslims in Xinjiang, China opens its doors to tourists

AFP . Kashgar :From the expansive dunes of the Taklamakan Desert to the snow-capped peaks of Tianshan, Chinese authorities are selling troubled Xinjiang as a tourist idyll, welcoming travellers even

From crafts to Kalashnikovs: Arms souk thrives in Yemen's Taez

From crafts to Kalashnikovs: Arms souk thrives in Yemen's Taez

AFP :Once overflowing with handicrafts, the old Al-Shinayni market in Yemen's third city of Taez is now bursting with Kalashnikovs and bullets as traders scramble to scratch out a living

India scrubs Moon mission launch one hour before liftoff

AFP :India on Monday postponed the launch of a lunar probe less than an hour before blast-off because of a technical problem, delaying its bid to become only the fourth

Iran tanker will be freed after guarantees, says Britain

Iran tanker will be freed after guarantees, says Britain

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt sought to ease tensions with Iran on Saturday, saying a tanker held by Gibraltar would be released if Tehran guaranteed it was not heading to

Toxic employers face jail as South Korea tackles workplace bullying

Toxic employers face jail as South Korea tackles workplace bullying

AFP  :After enduring months of constant harassment at work, South Korean office worker Christine Jung finally confronted her aggressor-only to be fired and sued for defamation by her employer.Her situation

British envoy said Trump dumped Iran deal to spite Obama

British envoy said Trump dumped Iran deal to spite Obama

Britain's ambassador to Washington believed US president Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal because it was associated with his predecessor Barack Obama, according to leaked documents published

Macron to show off Euro defence cooperation at Paris parade

Macron to show off Euro defence cooperation at Paris parade

AFP, Paris : French President Emmanuel Macron will on Sunday showcase Europe's defence capabilities by putting European military cooperation at the heart of a Bastille Day parade at a time of

Leaked UK memo says Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama

Leaked UK memo says Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama

AP, London : A U.K. newspaper published more leaked memos from Britain's ambassador in Washington on Sunday, despite a police warning that doing so might be a crime.In one 2018 cable

Tropical storm Barry pelts Louisiana, millions brace for flooding

Tropical storm Barry pelts Louisiana, millions brace for flooding

AFP, United States :Authorities warned of heavy rain and possible tornadoes throughout Saturday as major storm Barry buffeted Louisiana, though there were few indications of widespread flooding.After briefly becoming the

Climate change forum loses sponsor after dispute over story

Climate change forum loses sponsor after dispute over story

AP, New York : A planned forum on climate change for Democratic presidential candidates is short of several major sponsors after one backer published a vulgar and homophobic story related to