Speed Reads

Greece Votes

Greek conservatives win big but fall short of parliamentary majority

The center-right New Democracy party of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis notched a landslide victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections but fell five or six seats short of an outright majority in Greece's 300-seat parliament. New Democracy won a larger-than-expected 41 percent of the vote, according to near-complete returns, while the main opposition center-left Syriza party underperformed with about 20 percent.

Mitsotakis called Sunday's election a "political earthquake" and suggested he will seek an outright governing majority in a second election in late June or early July, under more favorable electoral rules for his party. Syriza's Alexis Tsipras, whom Mitsotakis defeated in 2019, called the results "exceptionally negative for Syriza," adding. "Fights have winners and losers."

Mitsotakis' electoral success was attributed to Greek economic growth after years of austerity and contraction following a 2010 debt crisis. Voters appeared to have overlooked high inflation, a deadly passenger train crash, and a surveillance scandal involving the government spying on opposition politicians, journalists, business executives, and military figures. 

Mitsotakis also "comes from one of Greece's most powerful political dynasties," BBC News reports. "His father Konstantinos Mitsotakis was himself prime minister in the early 1990s; his sister Dora Bakoyannis was foreign minister and her son Kostas Bakoyannis is the current mayor of Athens."