Athens [Greece]: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday conceded defeat to his opponent Kyriakos Mitsotakis after exit polls showed the latter’s centre-right New Democracy (ND) party on track to win the parliamentary elections in the nation.
With 75 per cent of votes counted, the ND party was leading with 39.6 per cent of total votes heading towards a majority in the 300-member Greek Parliament, while Tsipras’ leftist Syriza was behind with 31.6 per cent of total votes, CNN reported.
In a live television broadcast, Tsipras conceded defeat saying, “The result has been determined … but we will be back.”
In his speech, Mitsotakis said, “I know the difficulties lying ahead. I don’t request a grace period because we don’t have time for it. Transparency and meritocracy will return to Greece and our country’s voice will be heard in Europe.”
He said that his first priority after taking office would be to boost the stagnant economy by slashing taxes and regulations and attracting investment.
Mitsotakis is set to take oath as the new Prime Minister of Greece at 1 pm (local time) on Monday. He is the son of former premier Konstantinos Mitsotakis, who ruled the country from 1990 to 1993.
Between 1986 and 1995, Mitsotakis studied in the US — receiving degrees from Harvard and Stanford. He was working in the banking sector before joining politics.
Known to be a liberal reformist, the 51-year-old ND leader has served as minister of administrative reform from 2013 and 2015.
Mitsotakis has vowed to change Greece’s global image in the wake of an acute economic crisis in the last nine years, which saw its economy down by 25 per cent, the worst contraction for a developed country since the end of World War II.
The Syriza party had called for a snap election in May after it fared poorly in the European Parliament polls.
Sunday’s preliminary results show the widespread discontent by the people with Tsipras after four years of populist reforms he implemented in exchange for Greece’s international bailout to infuse life into the sluggish economy and to prevent the country from departing from the EU’s monetary union, popularly known as ‘Grexit’.
Apart from these measures, the move to change neighbouring Macedonia’s name as ‘North Macedonia’ also led to Tsipras losing popular support, despite the fact that the decades-long naming dispute was finally resolved.