Conservatives are returning to power in Greece after crushing the leftist ruling party, which failed in its pledge to fight austerity.
Now New Democracy offers more jobs and less taxes for austerity-weary Greeks.
The party of opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has claimed 39.74 percent of the vote, with Syriza trailing on 31.5 percent, the Interior Ministry said, after counting nearly 45 percent of the vote in the snap election.
If nothing changes significantly, New Democracy would claim between 155 and 167 seats in the 300-member parliament, which would enable it to form a government without political complications.
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The turnout in the election was estimated at around 55 percent, which was blamed on the hot weather, as temperatures reached over 40 degrees in some parts of the country.
Syriza, which had been in the driving seat since 2015, has acknowledged its defeat, with Alexis Tsipras calling Mitsotakis to congratulate him.
“Today, with our head held high we accept the people’s verdict. To bring Greece to where it is today, we had to take difficult decisions (with) a heavy political cost,” the outgoing PM told the journalists.
Syriza came to power four-and-a-half years ago with promises of ending austerity. The country’s economy took a massive blow during the 2008 crisis and required two harsh international bailouts to remain in the Eurozone.
However, shortly after taking office, Tsipras was forced to agree to the terms of a third bailout.
The move caused a split within the Syriza party and led to a snap election, which the PM again won.In the ensuing three years, the government would manage to achieve a moderate economic growth of 1.3 percent, which, however, didn’t result in significant improvements in the well-being of many Greeks.
The slow economic recovery, high unemployment rate, especially among the younger people, and the controversial ‘name deal’ with neighboring North Macedonia, which left many in the country dissatisfied, were key issues used by New Democracy during their campaign against Syriza.
Mitsotakis has already promised to “change Greece,” promising an ambitious program with less taxes and more jobs and investments.
The New Democracy leader, who will be sworn in as Prime Minister on Monday, comes from a famous Greek political dynasty. His father Konstantinos Mitsotakis used to be the PM, while his sister occupied the roles of foreign minister and mayor of Greece’s capital, Athens.
Before the vote, Greek Communist Party member Liana Kanelli told RT’s Going Underground program that the people shouldn’t expect any improvements, no matter who wins.
“New Democracy and Syriza are the parties that chose to be with the European Union, inside the eurozone and inside the NATO games,” Kanelli said. “I don’t put any hope in these two parties. They’re not practically ruling the country because we’re part of this European Union. Brussels is ruling my country, whether you like it or not.”
You can read this article as it originally appears at RT here.
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(PHOTO: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)