Conservative Ousts Leftist Premier in Greek Early Elections

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Conservative Greek opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis rode to a landslide victory over leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Sunday’s parliamentary elections and is set to take office in Athens Monday.

With more than 90 percent of votes counted, Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party had  39.8% of the vote, while Tsipras’s Syriza party had 31.6%.  

Tsipras, 44, rejected as the Greek leader after four years, conceded defeat and called Mitsotakis, 51, to congratulate him on his victory.

“I asked for a strong mandate to change Greece. You offered it generously,” Mitsotakis said in his victory speech. “From today, a difficult but beautiful fight begins…. Greeks deserve better and the time has come for us to prove it,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister and Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras walks by the photographers, are seen their shadows, at Zappeion Hall in Athens, on Sunday, July 7, 2019.

Mitsotakis, a graduate of Harvard in the U.S., will have a 158-seat majority in the 300-member Greek parliament.

He is the son of a former prime minister, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, brother of a former foreign minister, Theodora “Dora” Bakoyanni, and uncle to a newly elected mayor of Athens. 

Mitsotakis has pledged to create “better” jobs through foreign investment, tax cuts and removing obstacles for businesses.

Tsipras had called the election three months earlier than scheduled after his Syriza party suffered a severe defeat in European Union and local elections in May and early June.  

Greece is just beginning to recover from a massive financial crisis that included soaring unemployment and steep poverty levels. The country was forced to accept billions of dollars in financial bailouts from the International Monetary Fund, other eurozone countries and the European Central Bank that required deep spending cuts and other reforms.

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