Kyriakos Mitsotakis was counting on arriving at the electoral appointment this Sunday with a certain victory against his main opponent, the former leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras. With the economy under control in a country that bordered on bankruptcy in the previous decade, after having raised pensions and the minimum wage and after Greece has abandoned the surveillance mechanisms imposed by its creditors for 12 years, the current prime minister, leader of the conservative New Democracy (ND) party, he imagined confirming his position with some calm.
Mitsotakis, 55, has tried to convince that a second term is necessary to continue the path of economic growth. With him, foreign investment has increased and debt has dropped 35 percentage points in the last two years. It cannot boast of everything: inflation threatens millions of households and one in four Greeks remains at risk of social exclusion. His main proposal is to raise salaries and he presents himself as a guarantee of stability against the left of Tsipras. “On the one hand, there is the New Democracy governance proposal, and on the other, there is absolute chaos,” he said at a rally.
But his image as a moderate has been called into question by the spying scandal on politicians, journalists and businessmen by the EYP secret services, which has even affected the phone number of the Social Democratic leader of Pasok, Nikos Androulakis, although he has denied that he had nothing to do, he is considered the main responsible because right after taking power he put the secret services under his control. In Brussels, although he has enjoyed good relations with the European Commission, this issue has generated concern and in the European Parliament Mitsotakis has been compared to the ultra-conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The accusations of having violated human rights with the immediate return of migrants to Turkey have not gone well either.
Another problem for many disenchanted with the political system is his last name. Son of former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis (1990-1993) and brother of Dora Bakoyannis, who was mayor of Athens and foreign minister, and uncle of the mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, Mitsotakis burst into 2019 as the new face of one of the most powerful families in the country. Like most Greek politicians and businessmen, he was educated at the prestigious American College of Athens. He studied at the American universities of Harvard and Stanford and also has financial experience in places such as McKinsey or Chase Manhattan Bank. He jumped into politics in 2004, when he was elected deputy with ND. He was Antonis Samarás’s minister and in 2019, after four and a half years in Tsipras’ laboratory of the radical left, he won the elections with a comfortable 40% of the vote. Now it will be much more difficult.
A day without incident
The legislative elections that Greece is holding this Sunday to elect a new Parliament are taking place without notable incidents, on a day in which the Greeks decide between the continuity of the conservatives in power or a shift to the left.
Starting at 7:00 in the morning, close to 10 million voters can deposit their vote in the 21,500 polling stations throughout the country. At 2:00 p.m., turnout at the polls stood at 31.52% in 80% of the polling stations, the Hellenic Ministry of the Interior reported.