Greeks vote as leftist Syriza party's days in power seem numbered

Greeks vote as leftist Syriza party's days in power seem numbered

Greek citizens have voted in Kyriakos Mitsotakis centre-right New Democracy Party in today's general elections.

"Today, with our head held high we accept the people's verdict. To bring Greece to where it is today, we had to take hard decisions (with) a heavy political cost", the outgoing PM told the journalists.

Tsipras led his small Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, party to power in 2015 on promises to repeal the austerity measures of Greece's first two bailouts.

Mitsotakis is a scion of one of Greece's top political families.

The move caused a split within the Syriza party and led to a snap election, which the PM again won.In the ensuing three years, the government would manage to achieve a moderate economic growth of 1.3 percent, which, however, didn't result in significant improvements in the well-being of many Greeks.

The extreme right-wing Golden Dawn, founded by neo-Nazi supporters, teetered just below the 3% threshold needed to enter parliament - a massive fall of support for a party that had become the third-largest in the Greek legislature during the country's financial crisis.

This is Greece's sixth election since the global financial crisis in 2008.

The difference between New Democracy and Syriza may increase, the experts assume.

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The focus now turns to Mitsotakis's picks for the key economics ministries - finance, energy, development and foreign affairs.

"We will not be a passive opposition, but we will defend rights that have been earned for people during our government", said Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, a close aide to the prime minister who served as government spokesman until the election campaign started. "To give jobs to the young so they don't leave".

Greek Solution has been buoyed by backlash against Tsipras' controversial agreement with North Macedonia that ended a bitter 27-year dispute over the country's name.

Tsipras says that a vote cast for Mitsotakis would go to the political establishment, which forced Greece to the edge of the precipice in the first place.

Greece wrapped up its last economic adjustment programme in 2018, but remains under surveillance from lenders to ensure no future fiscal slippage. It has also promised to be tough on crime in some neighbourhoods of Athens where there is a strong anarchist movement.

Polls closed at 19:00 local time (16:00 GMT), after a day of soaring temperatures which raised concerns about turnout - which is now predicted to be just above 55 percent.

"We are too few to be divided", he added, announcing that "the parliament will remain open in the summer, the future can not wait".

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