ATHENS – Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be sworn in as Greece’s prime minister on Monday, a day after a resounding win for his New Democracy party in repeat elections gave him a second four-year term.
His centre-right party got an overall majority – 158 seats in the 300-seat parliament – well ahead of the 48 secured by leftist Syriza which ran the country from 2015-2019, at the height of the decade-long economic crisis.
Newly elected Greek Prime Minister and leader of New Democracy conservative party Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou at the Presidential Palace, following a general election, in Athens, Greece, June 26, 2023. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
“I feel the heavy weight of the responsibility Greeks have laid on my shoulders,” Mitsotakis told President Katerina Sakellaropoulou after receiving an official mandate to form a government.
“I have committed that in this second term we will realise the big changes that the country so much needs.”
The 55-year-old former banker and scion of a powerful political family was prime minister from 2019 until stepping down in favour of a caretaker premier following an inconclusive May 21 vote.
He has promised to push ahead with reforms to rebuild the credit rating after the debt crisis, and to boost revenue from the vital tourist industry, create jobs and increase wages to near the European Union average.
Mitsotakis is due to be sworn in at 1000 GMT and announce his cabinet at 1400 GMT.
A source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters he will appoint Kostis Hatzidakis as his finance minister.
Hatzidakis, a 58-year-old soft-spoken politician, is New Democracy’s Vice President. He served as labour and energy minister in the former government, overseeing the restructuring of Greece’s biggest power utility PPC, which had been struggling with overdue bills, the legacy of the debt crisis.
State broadcaster ERT also said that Hatzidakis was due to take the finance ministry portfolio.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and a deadly rail crash in February exposed shortcomings in health and public transport systems, soaring prices and economic hardship have more recently topped voters’ concerns.
Sunday’s vote saw a heavy defeat for Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party, which lost more than 30 lawmakers. “Mitsotakis’s absolute dominance, with no opponent,” Greek newspaper Ta Nea wrote on its front page.
Tsipras said Syriza would work hard for a come-back and his party would decide on his own future.
The vote also saw three fringe right-wing and nationalist parties, including the anti-immigrant ‘Spartans’, enter parliament with a combined 34 seats.
Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Andrew Heavens