Athens, Greece – Jubilant supporters clamoured round New Democracy’s headquarters, floodlit within the celebration’s trademark blue, to have fun Prime Minister-elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s return for a second time period.
“For the second time, all of Greece is blue,” Mitsotakis stated on Sunday evening, referring to the electoral map, which confirmed solely one in every of 60 electoral districts within the opposition Syriza celebration’s pink.
“The Greek individuals trusted us for a second time with a cushty majority, simply as we requested. It gave us a robust mandate,” he stated.
His supporters chanted again: “You’re and you may be the prime minister.”
New Democracy gained 40.5 p.c of the favored vote, giving it 158 seats within the 300-seat parliament. Syriza trailed with 17.8 p.c of the vote and should now undergo a management problem.
The consequence from Sunday’s elections got here as no shock. New Democracy gained the same victory 5 weeks earlier however selected to not type a authorities underneath the system of proportional illustration in power on the time, which gave it barely lower than a majority in parliament with 145 seats.
Mitsotakis held out for a second election, which triggered a brand new electoral system known as enhanced proportionality. It offers the highest celebration a bonus of as much as 50 seats, making governments simpler to type.
Mitsotakis got here to energy in 2019, promising to chop taxes imposed throughout Greece’s despair after the 2009 world monetary disaster.
Mitsotakis did minimize enterprise and payroll taxes, however his first time period was consumed by different issues – the COVID-19 pandemic, tensions with Turkey and the Ukraine battle, which introduced power inflation.
These crises satisfied many citizens that Mitsotakis is a reliable supervisor able to dealing with tough conditions and that he deserves one other probability to implement his financial reform programme. His assist has been particularly sturdy amongst small companies and the self-employed, who collectively present 90 p.c of personal sector employment.
“I’m not an economist, however the financial system is principally a matter of belief. People who find themselves within the market want to have the ability to belief the federal government. That solely occurs with New Democracy,” stated Chronis Akritidis, a self-employed topographer and New Democracy supporter.
“Mitsotakis has gained a really massive gambit – to do what he says and to persuade individuals to belief him. That may be very tough to do.”
Pensions out shortly
Yiorgos Stanotas, a plastics manufacturing unit proprietor, can also be a fan. “Greece has a deep state that’s tough to repair, however at the least [New Democracy] tries to get some issues executed. The issues I appreciated most had been e-government, and the actual fact they received pensions out to individuals shortly.”
Mitsotakis promised on Sunday “to shut as soon as and for all of the vicious cycle of division and toxicity that began a decade in the past”.
He has a promising begin. Greece achieved the best financial development fee within the European Union final 12 months – 5.5 p.c – and is ready to prime that once more this 12 months. However critics say it was largely achieved by an overreliance on tourism and actual property gross sales.
New Democracy has made bold guarantees for its subsequent time period. It desires to lift public funding by 70 p.c, entice file international direct funding, enhance exports to 60 p.c of GDP and lift common wages by 30 p.c. It hopes to take care of a mean annual development fee above 3 p.c.
However Greeks who didn’t vote for New Democracy have their eyes on one other financial pattern – hovering power inflation.
“The difficulty isn’t just to provide somebody a elevate. It’s additionally about having high quality of life; in any other case, what’s the purpose?” stated Athanasios Tsoukalas, a pensioner who supported neither New Democracy nor Syriza.
“If somebody offers you a elevate and takes it again tenfold, that’s not a elevate. That’s a bait and swap,” he added.
Greece noticed 7.2 p.c inflation final 12 months, decrease than the EU common of 9.2 p.c, nevertheless it additionally has one of many lowest per capita charges of GDP within the EU.
‘The celebration is over’?
Greece’s debt is one other huge financial problem, and Mitsotakis added to it when he carried out 66 billion euros ($72bn) in tax breaks and subsidies to assist individuals climate the pandemic and power inflation. It now stands at 400 billion euros ($438bn), nearly twice Greece’s GDP.
“As a result of [New Democracy] has received 40 p.c, it feels it has the fitting to do something,” stated Athanasios Drivas, a Syriza celebration functionary.
“I don’t know if individuals realise that every one this cash dropping from the ceiling is borrowed and paid for with excessive curiosity. I don’t know in the event that they realise that in some unspecified time in the future our buddies and companions are going to inform us that the celebration is over.”
New Democracy has promised to carry the debt to 160 p.c of GDP by the tip of its time period and to 120 p.c by the tip of the last decade.
Some opponents of New Democracy, and even some supporters, are frightened the celebration has change into too highly effective.
Voters abandoning Syriza appear to have scattered in all instructions, however some selected to again smaller events, and lots of will enter parliament for the primary time.
Amongst them are the Spartans and Niki, each nationalist events to the fitting of New Democracy, now crowding the identical a part of the ideological spectrum as Greek Resolution. Additionally coming into parliament for the primary time is Crusing to Freedom, a left-wing celebration. Collectively, the 4 claimed 16 p.c of the vote and can have 42 seats within the new parliament.
The actual fact these voters didn’t heed New Democracy’s name however went as an alternative for brand new, small events was not misplaced on Mitsotakis.
“This political dominance is just not a recipe for vanity or a clean cheque,” Mitsotakis warned exterior celebration headquarters on election evening.
“Folks have quite a lot of issues, and so they demand that we lean into the duty of fixing these issues. At this time, I’m the prime minister of all Greeks, and I’m expressing the expectations of all those that didn’t assist us. … I’m positive we will as soon as once more vindicate individuals’s expectations with our second time period.”