Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras revealed his intention to call an early general election, after the end of the second round of Greek local elections next Sunday.
Ruling SYRIZA suffered humiliating defeats in all three election battles on Sunday, European, regional and municipal. With over 30 percent of votes counted in the early hours of Monday, New Democracy led SYRIZA by over 9 points in the European election.
Commenting on the elections, Tsipras said he cannot ignore tonight’s results. “Our commitment to the people is part of mine and the party’s soul”, he said. “Tonight’s result gives the opposition the party to doubt our plan to support the many and the progress our economy has made”, added. “I will not run or resign from the battle for social justice, solidarity […] defending the toil and sacrifices of the Greek people. We will battle as we’ve always done”.
Tsipras thanked every candidate and supporter of SYRIZA in today’s elections, while highlighting the dilemmas ahead of the next general election. “There are only two ways forward, two options available: that of the many and that of returning to the previous regime of austerity […] and the IMF-sponsored measures”, he said.
Earlier, New Democracy party leader Kyriacos Mitsotakis demanded that Tsipras calls an immediate general election, following his party’s “resounding victory” on Sunday. Commenting on the tripple election battle, he said the result is clear rejection of the SYRIZA government and the Prime Minister. “Greece needs a new government” Mitsotakis said, adding that the PM “must take the responsibility” for his party’s defeat.
Mitsotakis said he will begin campaigning as of Monday to “convince as many Greeks as possible” that New Democracy must win this year’s general election. After thanking voters for their support, the main opposition party leader asked the Greek people to put trust in his leadership in order to put the country back on track and give citizens a better life from now on.
According to the stream of official results that continued to pour in in the early hours of Monday, the center-left Movement for Change appeared set to come in third place, followed by the Communist party and Golden Dawn.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said the right-wing Greek Solution party led by Kyriacos Velopoulos was estimated to elect one member to the European parliament, while the DiEM25 party – led by former Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis was also close to electing an MEP.
The Union of Centrists, To Potami and Independent Greeks (ANEL) parties all failed to elect candidates to the European parliament.
New Democracy victorious in local votes
In the regional elections, New Democracy-backed candidates appeared on Sunday night to have won a place in the second round in the vast majority of Greece’s 13 regions.
Specifically, candidate regional governors supported by the main opposition party were on course to win in 11 of the country’s 13 regions, including the largest ones, such as Attica. Moreover, in Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzicostas secured his re-election by a wide margin on Sunday night.
The leading candidates that gathered less than 51 percent of the vote will go to a run-off vote on June 2 against the first round runners up.
In the municipal elections, the Interior Ministry results early Monday showed New Democracy-backed candidate Costas Bakoyannis reached the second round comfortably, where he is set to face the SYRIZA-supported Nasos Iliopoulos. In Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest city, New Democracy-backed Nikos Tachiaos reached the second round comfortably.