With 99.65 percent of votes counted in the elections to the Greek parliament held on Sunday, May 21, the conservative New Democracy (ND) party led by incumbent Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis emerged as the single largest party with 40.79 percent of the votes and 146 seats. However, it fell short of a simple majority. The major opposition party, Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, secured only 20 percent of the votes and 71 seats (-15). The liberal-socialist PASOK-KINAL coalition and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) significantly improved their performance, winning 41 (+19) and 26 seats (+11), respectively. The elections saw a turnout of 60.92 percent despite that voting was compulsory.
According to reports, ND is unwilling to form a coalition with any other party and Mitsotakis has expressed willingness to go for a repeat vote in June where he might get a majority due to different electoral rules.
The elections were held amid a great deal of dissatisfaction with the major political parties. The ND government’s attacks on the rights of workers across sectors, especially health and education, were met with protests from trade unions. The government also faced a backlash after a horrific train accident and a wire-tapping scandal.
Under the ND government, austerity policies intensified. Close to 30 percent of Greeks are at risk of poverty or social exclusion and real wages of workers have declined by 25 percent since 2007. Greece has also been a key supporter of Ukraine, sending weapons and tank operators and spending 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense, more than any other NATO member.