Greece's conservative New Democracy party secured a decisive victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, granting them an outright majority and resulting in the most right-leaning parliament since the restoration of democracy in 1974.
With the new electoral system's provision of 50 bonus seats to the winning party, New Democracy, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, obtained a total of 158 seats in the 300-seat parliament. Mitsotakis expressed his commitment to pursuing ambitious goals in his second term, aiming to transform Greece with robust economic growth rates that would elevate wages and reduce inequalities. He stated, "Our goals are high and must be high in a second term that can transform Greece with dynamic growth rates that will raise wages and reduce inequalities."
The left-wing Syriza party, New Democracy's main rival, lagged far behind, securing only 47 seats with 17.8 percent of the vote. Mitsotakis' party, on the other hand, garnered 40.5 percent of the vote. The socialist PASOK party claimed 11.9 percent of the vote and 32 seats, while the communists KKE obtained 7.6 percent of the vote and 20 seats. The participation rate stood at 52.7 percent. This outcome places Greece firmly on track to regain an investment-grade rating by the end of the year, which is seen as positive for the market.
In addition to New Democracy's success, far-right parties made significant gains in the election. Four fringe parties, primarily from the far-right spectrum, managed to surpass the 3 percent threshold, securing representation in parliament. The Spartans party, which recently garnered attention by including a jailed MP from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, Ilias Kasidiaris, among its backers, witnessed a surge in support, achieving 4.7 percent of the vote and securing 13 seats. The ultra-nationalist Greek Solution party obtained 4.5 percent of the vote, securing 12 seats, while the religious party Niki, known for its anti-abortion stance, garnered 3.7 percent of the vote and 10 seats. Another left-leaning party, Course of Freedom, led by former Syriza member Zoi Konstantopoulou, obtained 3.1 percent of the vote and 8 seats.
While New Democracy's dominance reflects the rightward shift observed in Southern European countries after the protracted financial crisis in the eurozone, it also raises concerns about the potential challenges posed by far-right opposition lawmakers. Wolfango Piccoli, co-founder of risk analysis company Teneo, noted that Mitsotakis' resounding victory would provide his party with a comfortable majority to implement investor-friendly reforms. However, he cautioned that fringe parties would have a platform to disseminate their populist messages and could attempt to disrupt the government's agenda by focusing on contentious issues such as migration, Turkey relations, abortion, religion in education, and Russia sanctions.
The election results also cast a shadow over the left-wing Syriza party, which performed poorly. Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, acknowledged the party's defeat, stating, "Although the danger of collapse was avoided and Syriza remains the official opposition, we have suffered a serious electoral defeat." Tsipras indicated that the European elections next year would be a target for the party's rejuvenation, and he expressed his willingness to subject his leadership to the judgment of party members.
In summary, the parliamentary elections in Greece resulted in a clear victory for the conservative New Democracy party, positioning them to govern with an outright majority. The surge in far-right party representation signals a broader rightward trend in Southern European countries. However, challenges may arise from fringe parties that seek to disrupt the government's agenda. The election outcome is viewed as market-friendly and paves the way for Greece to regain an investment-grade rating.
By fLEXI tEAM