In Brief

Greek election results: centre-right regains power

New Democracy party unseats left-wing populists Syriza in snap poll

Greece's centre-right party New Democracy has won the nation's snap general election after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conceded defeat to his rival, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

With more than 90% of votes counted, Mitsotakis' New Democracy party had 39.8% of the vote, compared to 31.5% for Tsipras' Syriza party.

In a victory speech, Mitsotakis, whose party also won the largest vote share in the European elections in May, told supporters in Athens: “The country proudly raises its head again,” vowing he would be a prime minister for all because Greeks were “too few to stay divided”.

He added: “From today, a difficult but beautiful fight begins.” He has promised to lower taxes and privatise services in the country, which is still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis.

The Daily Telegraph calls the result a “crushing rejection for the Eurosceptic ‘new left’ of Syriza”, while CNN suggests the result “signals end of left-wing populism” which had risen from Greece's economic crisis, noting that likely new PM Mitsotakis “comes from the same political establishment that plunged Greece into the crisis in the first place”.

Mitsotakis is a scion of a Greek political dynasty, whose father served as leader of the same party. 

A graduate of Harvard and Stanford, he worked in banking before entering politics, which saw him serve as minister of administrative reform between 2013 and 2015.

Tsipras confirmed that he had called Mitsotakis to offer him his congratulations.

“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,” he told the media.

Tsipras had come to power on an anti-austerity ticket but within months, he was forced to accept tough conditions in return for Greece's third international bailout. Unemployment rose and Greece’s economy sank.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen says Tsipras “hopelessly overpromised” with his anti-austerity pledges and was forced into a “humiliating U-turn, signing up to a third... bailout, and more austerity”.

Turnout in the election was about 57% – one of the lowest figures in decades. Although voting is technically compulsory in Greece, the rule is not enforced. 

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