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Greece’s incumbent conservative New Democracy Party shattered expectation’s in the country’s elections over the weekend, paving the way for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to form a majority government in the next round of elections.
The ruling New Democracy Party collected the most votes in Sunday’s elections, coming in at 40.8%, according to numbers compiled by Reuters. The conservative party’s results were well ahead of its primary rival Syriza, a leftist party that maintained control of the government from 2015 to 2019 but only collected 20.1% of the vote Sunday.
“The ballot results are decisive,” Mitsotakis told cheering supporters as the results poured in, according to Reuters. “They show that New Democracy has the approval of the people to rule, strong and autonomous.”
According to Endy Zemenides, the executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, Sunday’s results are sure to send shock waves through the Greek political system, with New Democracy shattering the performance that was predicted by polls.
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gives a speech during an election campaign event in Heraklion on the island of Crete, Greece. (REUTERS/Louiza Vradi)
“Yesterday blew up everything,” Zemenides told Fox News Digital, who added the result “not only outdid the polls,” but that it represented “the first time in 40-years that an incumbent government actually did better the second time than it ran the first.”
Polling before the election, Zemenides said, indicated that while no party would be able to claim an outright majority, a collection of center-left and far-left parties would garner enough combined support to form a coalition government and oust the ruling conservative party. Instead, New Democracy bested its primary rival by about 20 percentage points at the same time other left-wing parties, such as the Greek Communist Party, garnered even less support or did not even meet the threshold to hold seats in parliament.
The shock result, which Zemenides called the results a “political earthquake” on social media as the results came in, sets the stage for New Democracy to pursue an outright majority in the second election, likely to take place on June 25.
Meanwhile, the results dealt a depressing blow to Greece’s left-wing flank, who vowed to recalibrate its strategy ahead of the final election in June.
Supporters of conservative New Democracy ruling party wave flags as they attend a pre-election rally of party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens, Greece. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)
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“The election result is extremely negative for SYRIZA … Our collective bodies will convene immediately to assess the results … We must immediately make all the changes needed to fight the next crucial and final electoral battle in the best possible terms,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said of the results, according to a report from Balkan Insight.
Leftist Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras is greeted by supporters at the neighborhood of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece. (REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis)
“This idea that Greece is more of a center-left to left country has now been blown ot of the water,” Zemenides said.
He also argued that the first election showed the unique draw of Mitsotakis, who he said stands as a unique figure in European politics and has managed to even draw the support of young Greeks to his style of conservative governance.
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“Mitsotakis has almost become mythical in our politics and in the politics of Europe,” Zemenides said. “He’s staunchly free enterprise and strong on national security but he’s also big on climate change… he’s pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ.”
Michael Lee is a writer at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee