Conservatives have strong mandate to change Greece, will deliver, says winner of general elections

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-08 06:11:38|Editor: Mu Xuequan
Video PlayerClose

ATHENS, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Greece's conservatives received a strong mandate from Greek people to change the country over the next four years and will deliver, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the main opposition conservative New Democracy (ND) party, said on Sunday evening.

In statements made to media following the announcement of the first official results of the country's first post bailout general elections, Mitsotakis pledged hard work and bold reforms to boost economic recovery after a decade-long debt crisis which brought Greece to the brink of collapse.

With 90.68 percent of votes counted, ND wins 39.8 percent of votes and absolute majority with 158 seats in the next 300-member strong assembly.

The Radical Left SYRIZA party of outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras garners 31.6 percent and 86 seats.

"I have received an outright majority that many people thought it was inconceivable a few years ago, but that means that there is a real strong mandate for changing Greece. This is what I promised to deliver and this is what I will do," Mitsotakis said at the party's headquarters on Sunday, after addressing the cheering crowd which was celebrating the victory.

Since the outbreak of the crisis in 2009, Greece had been ruled by fragile coalitions and traditional mainstream parties had lost significant ground to populists.

Mitsotakis is due to be sworn in as new prime minister on Monday and after a handover ceremony proceed to the formation of his cabinet.

"We will be receiving a vote of confidence from parliament on Sunday July 21st, so we will be ready to legislate after that and of course our discussions with the European creditors will begin immediately," the conservative leader said in his statement to media, stressing that there will be no surprises and frictions with Greece's lenders, as in the past.

In 2015 after SYRIZA won the national elections on an anti-austerity agenda, Greece teetered on the brink of meltdown before eventually signing a third harsh bailout program.

Greece formally exited the bailout program last summer, but the effects of the crisis are still strangling many households and businesses which turned their backs on SYRIZA on Sunday.

"We want to drive a real reform agenda for the country that is ambitious, very bold and very very detailed and of course we made the case that lower primary surpluses will be to the benefit of everyone, not just the Greek economy, but also our creditors," Mitsotakis said on Sunday.

ND has argued for a review of post-bailout targets concerning the primary surplus to allow more breathing space to the Greek economy for growth.

"I strongly believe in the endless capabilities of this nation and I want to see people progressing and regaining their lost confidence. I want to give the opportunity to youth who went abroad to return home if they choose to do so," Mitsotakis said, addressing ND's supporters and all Greeks.

"You handed me a clear and strong mandate for four years for a government with parliamentary majority. I will make the most of use of this mandate. Today ND's victory is a victory for Greece and each Greek," he stressed, pledging cooperation across party lines and urging for unity to rebuild the country.

Mitsotakis vowed to work nonstop starting from this summer to implement his party's program and not disappoint voters.

The focus will be on growth, job creation, tax relief, creating a business friendly environment to attract more much needed investments and security, he said.

For his part, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged his Radical Left SYRIZA party's defeat to the conservatives in Sunday's general elections, saying that "We are handing over to the new government an entirely different Greece compared to the country handed over to us. We are paying the political cost for difficult decisions we made."

According to the results so far, six parties will enter the new parliament, clearing the three percent threshold needed under Greece's electoral law.

The centrist Movement for Change (Kinima Allagis- KINAL) gets 8 percent of votes and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) 5.3 percent.

MeRA 25 (Day 25), an anti-austerity party founded by former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is estimated to receive 3.5 percent of votes and the newly founded Right-wing nationalistic Greek Solution (Elliniki Lysi) 3.7 percent of votes.

The ultra-Right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) fails to enter the parliament for first time since its debut in the 2012 national elections.

A total of 20 parties competed in this Sunday's electoral battle, the third in less than two months.

ND's clear victories in May's European parliament elections and June's local government elections forced Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to head to early general elections, three months before the expiry of his government's term in office.