Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Greek PM Tsipras concedes defeat after centre right party sees landslide election win

Kyriakos Mitsotakis of New Democracy will take over as prime minister on Monday

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of Greek centre-right party New Democracy, is on course for election victory. AP Photo
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of Greek centre-right party New Democracy, is on course for election victory. AP Photo

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conceded defeat in a general election to Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Sunday evening, after the centre-right New Democracy party was on course for a landslide victory.

Prime minister-elect Mr Mitsotakis said he had a clear mandate for change and promised more investment and fewer taxes.

The latest results projections suggested 39.77 per cent of voters backed New Democracy, translating to 158 seats.

Syriza, Mr Tsipras’s socialist party, was set to grab 31.55 per cent of the vote, amounting to only 86 seats in the 300-member Parliament.

His victory comes after years of high unemployment and three financial bailouts from the EU as Greece almost crashed out of the eurozone amid an economic crisis in 2015.

In a televised address, Mr Mitsotakis, who has led New Democracy since 2016, said he had a clear mandate to change Greece.

“The people’s will is clear: society wants us to push forward together,” Mr Mitsotakis, who has led New Democracy since 2016, said in a televised address.

“I’ll work to convince you that I’m everyone’s prime minister. We are too few to be split.

“I am committed to fewer taxes, many investments, for good and new jobs, and growth that will bring better salaries and higher pensions in an efficient state.”

Mr Mitsotakis will be sworn in as prime minister on Monday.

Mr Tsipras said in a concession speech in the Greek capital Athens that he respected the will of the people and had phoned his rival to congratulate him.

“I want to assure the Greek people that we will protect the rights of working people with a responsible but dynamic opposition,” he said.

“I wish and hope that the return of New Democracy to government will not lead to vengeance, particularly towards the significant achievements to protect the social majority and the workers.”

Mr Tsipras took over from the conservatives in September 2015, during the peak of the financial crisis that had plagued Greece since 2010.

Although he said he wanted to resist austerity, he was forced to agree to another financial bailout with the EU months after his election, lowering his popularity with the electorate.

Greece’s main extreme right-wing party, Golden Dawn, which has been accused of sympathising with neo-Nazi beliefs, looked set to lose ground.

Early results indicated it would not reach the 3 per cent threshold to enter Parliament.

Updated: July 8, 2019 09:22 AM

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