Greece: what does Mitsotakis' victory mean?

With almost all votes counted, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' liberal-conservative Nea Dimokratia has secured a clear victory in the second round of Greece's parliamentary elections with 40.5 percent of the vote. The left-wing Syriza party led by former prime minister Alexis Tsipras came second with 17.8 percent, while three small far-right parties claimed almost 13 percent of the vote. Commentators examine the consequences for Europe.

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Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

A reliable partner for the West

Salzburger Nachrichten emphasises the country's importance for security policy, with its location on Nato's south-eastern flank:

“While Turkey is trying the patience of its allies with its pro-Russia policy and the blockade of Nato's northern expansion, Greece has become an important hub for the Western alliance's military operations in Eastern Europe and on the Black Sea. Tsipras flirted with Russia, Venezuela and Cuba during the crisis years. Under Mitsotakis, Greece has once again become a trusted partner for the West. No wonder the Greeks voted on Sunday not for new radical-left experiments, but for continuity and stability.”

Polityka (PL) /

Europe is shifting to the right

Polityka is concerned:

“The results of this election are extremely worrying for Europe. With Greece, there is now another country where the internal institutional and democratic mechanisms have not been able to contain the quest for power; where the media is put under pressure and victory can be achieved with politics of hatred and the demonisation of people from other countries and cultures. The role of the far right, which although not in government will exercise power and assume a stabilising role for the government, should also not be underestimated. ... Elections will be held in Spain in July, and there could be a repeat of this scenario. ... The radicals are penetrating the European mainstream.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

At last Greece will be reformed

The pro-government Kathimerini has absolute confidence in Mitsotakis' abilities:

“The question that has remained unanswered for decades is whether Greece is genuinely capable of reform, of becoming a modern, normal European country. Kyriakos Mitsotakis' resounding victory on Sunday gives him the unique and historical ability to answer this question. He has no real rivals, no real opposition. He has a profound understanding of the problems, because he has a mind like a laser beam. … The forces that want to drag the country back or are simply scared of progress and a change in the status quo are strong, and the battle against them will be fierce. ... The challenge must be won.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Despite failures economic data is in his favour

The Greeks have voted for economic stability, says La Stampa:

“Despite the scandals surrounding the wiretapping of oppositional politicians and journalists, despite the train accident in Tempi last February, despite the migrant shipwreck in Kalamata ten days ago, conservative Mitsotakis has won and will govern for another four years. ... The main reason for this, according to analysts, is his handling of the economy. ... Unemployment has dropped from 19 percent to 11 percent. Bureaucracy has been reduced, the state digitised. The government has lowered taxes for companies, and multinationals like Microsoft, Google and Pfizer are investing. The crisis is putting pressure on household incomes, but the forecast is 2.4 percent growth.” (DE) /

The nation comes first sees a growing trend:

“A few freedoms and basic rights are being sacrificed for the sake of stability. Political scandals, the concentration of power, restrictions on press freedom and pushbacks are overlooked. The nation comes first - as is increasingly the case in Europe. But Greece - through its own fault - has also been under the strict supervision of the EU for long enough. It is part of its unifying national pride that it got through the debt crisis - and it should never happen again. That is also why a majority has voted for Mitsotakis, an economist with international degrees.”


No effective opposition

News website TVXS warns:

“This renewed electoral defeat for Syriza as well as [social democratic] Pasok-Kinal's inability to increase its share of the vote creates a dangerous situation: there is no longer any effective and efficient control over the dominant Nea Dimokratia, which has already displayed certain regime-like traits in the four years it has been in office. ... After this latest victory of the far right the right-wing forces as a whole are stronger than the entire left and centre left. ... We can no longer afford the luxury of passivity in the face of an uncontrollable government that has the wiretapping scandal and other sad events on its record.”

Efimerida ton Syntakton (GR) /

Greece now has its own alt-right

The left has its work cut out for it, writes Efimerida ton Syntakton:

“In Greece, as almost everywhere else in the world, an ultra-conservative wind is blowing, and today's election results confirm this. There is no Greek exception, as was already evident in 2012 when Chrysi Avgi entered parliament. Today the Nazi leaders are in prison, but with Kasidiaris' [former spokesman for Chrysi Avgi] blessing they will be replaced by the 'Spartans'. ... Greece now has its own alt-right, in all its manifestations: racism, nationalism, conspiracy theories and bigotry. ... The left must show that it has reserves of combativeness, patience, organisation and systematic work. It looks like it will be forced to swim like a salmon against the current.”