The ‘electoral cycle is not over yet’, says Tsipras
With more than 82 percent of the ballot counted, Tsipras said the “electoral cycle is not over yet”.
The next battle, he said, will be “critical and final”.
Tsipras’ Syriza party has so far garnered 20.1 percent of the vote, while rival New Democracy party is credited with 40.8 percent of the votes, a 20-point lead.
Despite a clear win for New Democracy, they are still short of reaching an outright majority.
New Democracy has the approval of the people, says Mitsotakis
In his victory speech, Mitsotakis said he had won a mandate to form a strong autonomous government.
“The ballot results are decisive. They show that New Democracy has the approval of the people to rule, strong and autonomous,” Mitsotakis said.
He also said only “strong governments” can enact the changes needed.
A ‘wide’ difference between New Democracy and Syriza
Reporting from Athens, Al Jazeera’s Stefani Dekker said Mitsotakis addressed his supporters now that 75 percent of the vote has been counted.
“We’re expecting him [Mitsotakis] to come out now that those final numbers are solidifying, 75 percent of the vote has been counted, 40 percent to New Democracy and 20 percent to Syriza, that is quite a wide difference between them,” Dekker said.
Mitsotakis addresses nation
Mitsotakis says his party’s election success shows that New Democracy has the people’s approval to rule as a one-party government.
Addressing the nation, he described the result as a “political earthquake” and thanked voters for backing his party.
“Greece needs a government that believes in reforms, and this cannot happen with a fragile government,” he said.
Tsipras calls Mitsotakis, congratulates him
Tsipras has called Mitsotakis to congratulate him on the ruling party’s election showing, according to local media reports.
Neither leader has publicly commented on the results yet.
No change as 70% of ballots counted
With 71.39 percent of the ballots counted, the result remains largely unchanged:
- New Democracy: 40.83 percent, 145 seats
- Syriza: 20.07 percent, 72 seats
- PASOK-KINAL: 11.82 percent, 42 seats
- KKE: 7.09 percent, 25 seats
- Hellenic Solution: 4.50 percent, 16 seats
- Rest parties not entering parliament: 15.69 percent
PASOK leader jubilant
A jubilant Nikos Androulakis, leader of the PASOK-KINAL (Panhellenic Socialist Movement-Movement for Change), has arrived at his party’s headquarters.
The socialist party is third, with about 12 percent of the vote and 43 seats.
Androulakis described the election, in which his party performed better than expected, as a “great day” for democracy.
Results with nearly 60% of ballots counted
With nearly 60 percent of the votes counted, the result is as follows:
- New Democracy: 40.87 percent, 145 seats
- Syriza: 20.09 percent, 71 seats
- PASOK-KINAL: 11.98 percent, 43 seats
- KKE: 7.03 percent, 25 seats
- Hellenic Solution: 4.49 percent, 16 seats
- Rest parties not entering parliament: 15.54 percent
New election well on the cards
Early reactions from New Democracy officials suggest that a new election is well on the cards, with June 25 now being floated as a likely date.
“It’s a huge surprise … an amazing result,” Nikos Dendias, the foreign minister in Mitsotakis’s government, told Greek public broadcaster TV ERT.
Takis Theodorikakos, a minister and a senior New Democracy official, told private TV station Skai that the result suggested that the conservatives could garner enough in a second election “to continue the reforms as an autonomous government”.
Senior Syriza official Dimitris Papadimoulis, a European Parliament vice president, told TV ERT that if confirmed, the result would be “significantly far” from the party’s goals and would mark a failure to rally opposition to the government.
I’m not very happy about the results: Student
While New Democracy party members celebrate the news, for some, like university student Petros Apostolakis, the result was unexpected.
“To be totally honest, I’m not very happy about the results New Democracy is receiving right now and that’s because as a young person, for the past few years, I’ve seen [the] New Democracy party implementing agendas that have nothing to do with the interests of my generation,” he told Al Jazeera in Athens.
“Climate change is not being faced enough by the mainstream parties, the rent and housing crisis we’re facing is not being faced enough by the parties in parliament, and other main issues are not being talked about enough.”
To Apostolakis, the opposition parties have not been able to express the “real needs” of the people, and that is why New Democracy is leading in the results.
Syriza leader at party HQs
Tsipras has also arrived at his party’s headquarters.
Supporters and party members cheered on the Syriza leader, even though the party’s showing appeared to be a major disappointment.
Mitsotakis to speak at 10pm
It turns out that Mitsotakis’s statement will now take place at about 10pm local time (19:00 GMT), according to the latest information.
Election result assessment
The interior ministry estimates New Democracy will finish first, with 41 percent of the vote and 145 seats — just short of the 151 needed for an outright majority.
Syriza is expected to finish second with a disappointing 20 percent and 71 seats.
PASOK-KINAL follows third with 11.7 percent and 43 seats, ahead of KKE at 7.2 seats and 25 seats, and Hellenic Solution at 4.5 percent and 16 seats.
New Democracy ahead by wide margin, early official results show
Early official results show a big victory for New Democracy.
With 30 percent of the votes counted, the ruling conservatives are ahead with 41.1 percent of the vote, while Syriza trails far behind at 20.1 percent.
New Democracy officials in high spirits
There is jubilation among New Democracy members as the final exit poll projects that the ruling party will gain between 37.5 percent and 41.5 percent of the vote.
“[The exit polls] show a clear victory for New Democracy and a clear renewal of the mandate to continue the major changes sought by Greek society,” said government spokesperson Akis Skertsos.
Public Order Minister Takis Theodorikakos said on Skai television, “We have said that we want to govern outright because that would ensure stability and the way forward. So we have the right to ask the Greek people for that in the next election.”
Party leader, Mitsotakis, is expected to comment on the results at about 9pm local time (18:00 GMT).
2023 projections compared with 2019 election results
In the previous election on July 7, 2019, New Democracy finished first, getting 39,85 percent (2,251,618 votes) and 158 seats.
It was followed by Syriza at 31,53 percent (1,781,057 votes) and 86 seats.
PASOK-KINAL was third with 8.10 percent (457,623 votes) and 22 seats, ahead of the Greek Communist Party, or KKE, at 5.30 percent (299,621 votes) and 15 seats.
The right-wing Hellenic Solution secured 3.70 percent (209,290 votes) and 10 seats, while the left-wing MeRA25 got 3.44 percent (194,576 votes) and nine seats.
A reminder that Sunday’s vote took place under a new electoral system which means that a repeat vote is highly likely.
Final projections for smaller parties
As for the smaller parties, these are their projected shares of the vote according to the final exit poll.
- PASOK-KINAL: between 11.5 percent and 12.5 percent
- ΚΚΕ: between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent
- Hellenic Solution: between 4.3 percent and 5.3 percent
- MeRA25: between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent
- Pleusi Eleftherias: between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent
- Niki: between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent
Final exit poll shows ruling party winning by even larger margin
The polling agencies have released the final exit poll based on the complete reading of the survey carried out at polling stations across Greece.
New Democracy is projected to do even better than the preliminary exit poll, gaining between 37.5 percent and 41.5 percent.
In contrast, Syriza’s projected share of the vote has been revised lower, between 23.5 percent and 27.5 percent.
Mitsotakis to make a statement
Mitsotakis is expected to make a statement commenting on the election results at about 9pm local time (18:00 GMT).
His ruling party is projected to finish first in the election, gaining between 36 percent and 40 percent of the vote.
Exit poll projects New Democracy to win 121-125 seats
The exit poll projects that the ruling New Democracy party will win between 121 and 125 parliamentary seats, while the main opposition party, Syriza, is projected to gain between 86 and 89 seats.
Third-placed PASOK-Kinal is projected to win about 35 seats.
A reminder that a party needs a majority of at least 151 seats out of 300 available to form a government.
If the exit poll is confirmed, Mitsotakis would either have to enter into negotiations with his rivals or opt for a second round of elections in July.
All three major parties have already said they would not work together and form a coalition government if they were to win the vote.
Results begin trickling in
Interior ministry official Michalis Stavrianoudakis has told reporters that “the voting was completed smoothly”.
He said the first results from 70 polling stations had already begun trickling in, adding that the first assessment of the election result would be at 8:30pm local time (17:30 GMT).
Tsipras to head to Syriza HQs
Tsipras is due to leave his residence in Athens to head to the Syriza headquarters, according to local media reports.
The former prime minister’s party is projected to gain between 25 percent and 29 percent of the votes, according to the joint exit poll.
Syriza ‘to wait for official results’
For their part, Syriza members quoted by local media say they will wait for the official results, stressing that exit polls have been wrong in the past.
The exit poll was based on an 80 percent reading of the survey carried out at polling stations across Greece.
New Democracy supporters celebrate
The release of the exit poll was met with celebrations by New Democracy supporters gathered at the party’s main election kiosk in central Athens.
Exit poll results match predictions: AJ correspondent
Reporting from Athens, Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker says the initial exit poll is in line with what had previously been predicted.
“The exit polls can and will, of course, change as the count continues, we’ll expect to have a much clearer picture in the next couple of hours, potentially by midnight. At the moment, New Democracy, the governing party, got 36-40 percent of the vote, Syriza 25-28 percent and PASOK 9.5-12.5 percent,” Dekker said.
“[This] is pretty much what had been predicted; if this stays as it is, it does mean it is likely that there will be a run-off election on July 2.”
Whoever wins the election will have three days from tomorrow to form a coalition — if the exit poll numbers remain the same — but all three major parties have said they will not work together, Dekker added.
According to the exit poll, the socialist party PASOK-KINAL is projected to get between 9.5 percent and 12.5 percent, followed by the communist party KKE, between 6 percent and 8 percent.
The right-wing Hellenic Solution is predicted to get between 3.5 percent and 5.5. percent, while the left-wing MeRa25 follows with 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent. Another small party, Pleusi Eleftherias, is projected to receive between 2.2 percent and 4.2 percent.
A reminder that a political party needs to gain 3 percent of the vote to enter parliament.
Voting ends, exit poll shows New Democracy in the lead
Mitsotakis’s conservative New Democracy party is ahead of its main rival, the left-wing Syriza party, as voting ended in Greece’s election, according to an exit poll.
A combined poll from six polling agencies said New Democracy would get between 36 and 40 percent of the vote, with Syriza in a range of 25 percent to 29 percent.
Young people distrust political institutions: Commentator
Commentator Loukia Kotronaki, who researched youth opinions after a disastrous train crash that led to protests calling for governmental accountability, says there is “general distrust to all institutions” among young people.
“This lack of confidence is not to be translated into an intention to abstain from the elections because also a high percentage at 71 percent answered [a poll] they were going to vote in the election and would vote even if there is a second round,” she told Al Jazeera.
But issues traditionally promoted by the right wing, including immigration or Greek-Turkish relations, fall low on the list of priorities for young people while social issues, especially the cost of living, rank the highest, added Kotronaki.
We will soon see everything: Mitsotakis
Mitsotakis has arrived at the offices of his party.
“We will soon see everything,” he told reporters gathered outside the New Democracy headquarters.
Polls close in fewer than 30 minutes.
Election polls to close in 25 minutes
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Athens, says the election polls will close in about 25 minutes.
“At the moment, the turnout number we have from an hour ago is about 48 percent. This is seen as a pretty good turnout a repeat vote is widely expected on July 2. This is because Greece is for the first time voting under a proportional representation system in parliament, [where] 300 seats are up for grabs and the main party needs to win 151.”
Dekker said according to the pre-election opinion polls, the ruling party is in the lead but is expected to fall short of an outright majority.
“So unless it can form a coalition government and all three parties [New Democracy, Syriza, PASOK] have said they will not share, then it is going to go to a second round.”
Mitsotakis heading to party HQs
A smiling Mitsotakis has left his residence in central Athens, television footage showed.
He is expected to head to the New Democracy party headquarters to follow the announcement of results from there.
He was accompanied by his wife, Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis.
Greeks in the UK vote in high numbers
Greece’s national broadcaster says the participation of Greek voters living in the United Kingdom reached 76.3 percent.
In the capital, London, 2,904 people out of 3,858 registered cast their ballots, ERT said.
In the cities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds, 817 people out of 978 registered voted, it added.
The voting took place without any incidents.
What to expect in coming hours
With little more than 60 minutes left until polls close, here is what to expect in the coming hours:
- 7pm (16:00 GMT): An exit poll will be published as soon as voting ends.
- 8:30pm (17:30 GMT): The interior ministry is expected to give the first safe estimate of the election results.
- By 10pm (19:00 GMT): Confirmation of results based on most ballots counted.
How the new electoral system affects election
A lot has been said in recent weeks about Greece’s new electoral system that makes it hard for parties to secure an outright parliamentary majority.
Read all about it in our basic guide on the election here.
‘A complex election’: Commentator
Journalist and commentator Panos Polyzoidis says he would be “extremely surprised” if the result tonight showed that a repeat vote would not be needed.
“I do believe that the two crucial points in tonight’s results are, first, how high the ruling conservative New Democracy will score — will it be high enough so that they’re in with a shot of winning an outright majority in the second elections?” he told Al Jazeera.
“The second crucial point is what the difference in votes will be between New Democracy party and the main opposition Syriza party.”
When asked which candidate would be better for a society facing rising living costs, Polyzoidis said, “I think we have to evaluate candidates not mainly on what they say they intend to do but what they have achieved so far.”
“It’s a very complex situation, it’s not a classic ‘tax and spend less’ versus a ‘less taxes, more investment policy’ this election,” he added.
Turnout so far nears 50%
According to the latest update by the interior ministry, voter turnout so far stands at 48.76 percent.
The information is based on figures gathered from 17,547 voting centres out of a total of 21,467 by 4:30pm local time (13:30 GMT).
Polls will close at 7pm (16:00 GMT).
Ruling party projected to do well: AJ correspondent
Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, says early exit polls project that the ruling conservative party will do “extremely well”.
“Although we’re hearing from unofficial sources and premature exit polls, which may not be announced publicly at this time, that the ruling Conservatives will do extremely well and will be put a great distance between them and the second-largest radical left Syriza party,” he said.
Psaropoulos explained that the seats projected for the New Democracy ruling party are still unlikely to give them an outright majority of 151 seats in the chamber.
People cannot make ends meet: Voter
The rising cost of living is at the forefront of many voters’ minds as they head to polling centres set up in schools across the country.
“Every year, instead of improving, things are getting worse,” said Dimitris Hondrogiannis, a resident of the capital, Athens.
“Things are expensive. Every day, things are getting out of control. It’s enough to make you afraid to go to the supermarket to shop,” added the 54-year-old.
Hondrogiannis said he hoped for a stable government that would help reduce prices for food and general goods. “People cannot make ends meet.”
In about 20 minutes, we expect to receive the latest update regarding voter participation.
In its previous update at 1:30pm local time (10:30 GMT), the interior ministry said turnout at 80 percent of the polling stations stood just above 31.5 percent.
Varoufakis on Al Jazeera
Speaking of Varoufakis, the former finance minister was recently a guest on Al Jazeera’s UpFront programme, offering his views on the woes of the banking sector and speaking about why workers always seem to bear the brunt during times of economic downturn.
You can watch the interview here and in the video below.
The smaller parties
A multitude of smaller parties are also vying for votes, although only a few are likely to have any chance of meeting the 3 percent threshold to gain seats in Greece’s 300-member parliament.
The Communist Party of Greece, or KKE, is all but guaranteed a spot, with the nationalist Hellenic Solution and the left-wing MeRa25, headed by former Syriza Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, also seeking to re-enter parliament.
EuroLeague final also in voters’ minds
While Greeks will be glued to their television screens at 7pm (16:00 GMT) onwards to watch the exit poll and the first results trickling in, many in the basketball-crazed country undoubtedly will switch channels at 8pm to watch the final of European basketball’s top club competition in which Greek side Olympiacos Piraeus will take on Spain’s Real Madrid.
Mitsotakis, an avid basketball fan, is also an Olympiacos supporter.
Who is in the running?
The three main parties are:
The ruling party is promising to build on tax cuts it delivered in its first term and to achieve 3 percent annual growth, more foreign direct investment and less than 8 percent unemployment — down from 11.4 percent today. The government budget returned to primary surplus last year after a debt crisis, three bailouts and years of oversight by lenders. It expects to achieve AAA investment grade status with ratings agencies this year, which would lower its borrowing costs. It also promises to produce almost all of Greece’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027 to make the country more autonomous.Syriza
The main opposition left-wing party, which lost power to New Democracy in 2019, has criticised Mitsotakis unrelentingly. It believes he has sided with the likes of Hungary’s populist leader Viktor Orban and Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on refugee policy, accusing him of turning a blind eye to illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers at the borders with Turkey. Syriza also decries as inadequate Mitsotakis’s response to the phone-tapping scandal. Tsipras also blames New Democracy as solely responsible for inadequate safety measures on Greek railroads, which led to the February train collision that killed many university students.PASOK-KINAL
A former ruling party, PASOK used to be New Democracy’s main rival and commanded 44 percent of the popular vote in 2009. It fell to single-digit electoral performances after supporting government spending cuts to balance the budget in the wake of the global financial crisis. Its new leader, Nikos Androulakis, is bidding for a high share of the vote, promising a green transition away from coal and natural gas, a strong national healthcare system, transparency and meritocracy. He decries Mitsotakis and Tsipras as unfit to lead because both supported austerity policies during the post-2008 global financial crisis, which impoverished many Greeks. He referred to the two politicians as “populism with a tie and populism without a tie”.
Will wiretap scandal affect election outcome?
Another issue that took centre in the campaign was a wiretapping scandal that forced the resignations of the head of Greece’s intelligence service and a nephew of Mitsotakis, who was a top aide in his office.
Androulakis, the leader of PASOK-KINAL, had been seen as a potential coalition partner for Mitsotakis, but things went sour when he discovered he had been under state surveillance.
Read more about the scandal here.
Voters in their own words
Here is a collection of quotes from voters in Greece:
- Antonia Tsekiri says she wants stability. “[I] voted for a party that will allow for things not to get worse.”
- Theodosius, 54, says: “In areas such as democracy, freedom, everyday life, dignity, working conditions, we are going backwards very quickly, we have to try and do something.”
- Athens resident Dora Vasilopoulo, 41, says: “Life, especially for young people, is very difficult. Unemployment is high, there are no work prospects and salaries vanish at the end of the month.”
- Thessaloniki resident Giorgos Antonopoulos, 39, who works at a commercial store, says: “Salaries are used up halfway through the month and nothing is done to address this issue. We work just to survive.”
- Nadia Aggelopoulou, 47, a civil servant, believes Mitsotakis is “doing what he can” to fight inflation. His government “has been excellent on all levels,” she says, adding that “we don’t hear lies. We’re expecting salary hikes.”
The party leaders’ next moves
Just four hours left until polls close.
In the hours ahead, Mitsotakis is expected to head to the New Democracy headquarters alongside other party officials.
For his part, Tsipras will watch the results at home before going to Syriza’s offices.
The economic battleground
The state of the economy is a key concern for voters across Greece.
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with energy inflation, has hurt many small businesses and the self-employed.
Watch our comprehensive video report below.
Photos: Voting continues
Election held on popular name day
Interestingly, the election is being held on a day when the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Konstantinos and his mother, Saint Eleni — one of the most popular name days in the country.
As a result, political leaders included their wishes to those celebrating during their Election Day messages.
Repeat election ‘more or less a given’: AJ correspondent
Reporting from central Athens, Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos has sent the following update:
“This is an anti-climactic election because it’s more or less a foregone conclusion that Greece won’t be forming a government next week.
“The leading party in the opinion polls, the ruling conservatives of New Democracy, have said they are not willing to work with any other party to form a coalition government — and they also don’t have the votes to form a government on their own under the current system of proportional representation.
“So given that the second-largest party, the left-wing Syriza, and the third-largest party, the socialist PASOK, also won’t have enough seats in parliament to form a majority government, or even a minority government with a parliamentary vote of tolerance, I think it’s more or less a given that Greece is going to have a repeat election on July 2.”
Figures on voter participation
Voter participation in 80 percent of the polling stations (16,520 out of 21,467) stands at 31.52 percent, local media have reported citing the interior ministry.
The electoral process is running smoothly, with no major issues reported since polls opened.
The next official update is expected at 5pm local time (14:00 GMT).
The view from the islands
Tourism season has started in Greece.
That means about 250,000 Greeks are working as seasonal workers across the country’s islands.
But many of these workers are unable to vote.
Watch our video report from the island of Rhodes below.
Voting goes smoothly
There are fewer than five hours left before polls close.
A reminder that television stations in Greece will broadcast a joint exit poll as soon as voting concludes.
The makeup of Greece’s outgoing parliament
In the previous election, six parties elected representatives in the country’s legislature:
- New Democracy, centre-right — 158 seats
- Syriza, left-wing — 86 seats
- PASOK-KINAL, centre-left — 22 seats
- KKE, communist — 15 seats
- Hellenic Solution, right-wing — 10 seats
- Mera25, left-wing — 9 seats
‘Impressive turnout’ in Athens
Reporting from a school-turned-polling station in central Athens, Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos says the turnout has been “very impressive”.
“We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of people come and go from this polling centre,” he said.
Turnout in the previous election, in July 2019, stood at 57.78 percent.
Today, we vote for our future: Mitsotakis
Mitsotakis has also sent his own message to voters.
“Elections are the celebration of democracy. And today we vote for our future,” he said.
“For better wages, more and better jobs. For a more effective [healthcare system], for a society with fewer inequalities, for a stronger country.”
Οι εκλογές είναι η γιορτή της δημοκρατίας. Και σήμερα ψηφίζουμε για το μέλλον μας. Για καλύτερους μισθούς, περισσότερες και καλύτερες δουλειές. Για ένα πιο αποτελεσματικό ΕΣΥ, για μία κοινωνία με λιγότερες ανισότητες, για μία πατρίδα πιο ισχυρή.
Kαλή ψήφο σε όλες και όλους! pic.twitter.com/0FJEHHU8wj
— Kyriakos Mitsotakis (@kmitsotakis) May 21, 2023
Athens voter joined by his dog
In one of the most widely shared moments of the day so far, a voter in Athens has cast his ballot joined by his dog.
See the photos below.
All you need to know about the polls
‘What’s up bro? Heading to the polls today?’: Tsipras on TikTok
Tsipras has posted a video on his TikTok account urging young voters to head to the polls.
“What’s up bro? Heading to the polls today?” he asks in the 14-second clip.
“The others will go. The others always go,” Tsipras continues, saying “the time is now” for people to make their own decisions.
Five arrested for trying to buy votes
Five people have been arrested in the central city of Karditsa, Greece, on allegations of electoral fraud ahead of the vote, the Athens News Agency reports.
According to the General Regional Police Directorate of Thessaly, the arrests took place late on Saturday.
Officers seized 197 ID cards, passports, two photocopies of ID cards and a bag with 114 closed envelopes, each containing a card of a parliamentary candidate and five ballot papers with the candidate’s name already ticked. They were found in a car owned by one of the suspects.
A total of 6,060 euros ($6,500) was also found in the possession of two of those arrested.
The Athens News Agency reported that the investigation had revealed evidence of a vote-buying attempt.
Such cases are rare in Greece.
How does voting work?
A quick reminder that political parties must secure at least 3 percent of the popular vote to enter the 300-seat parliament – six parties passed the threshold in the last vote four years ago.
The parties will then be allocated parliamentary seats in direct proportion to their share of the vote.
Greek president hopes for wide turnout
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou has cast her ballot in Athens.
Speaking to reporters, the former high court judge expressed hope of a significant turnout, saying this will affirm the strength of democracy in the country.
The presidency is a largely ceremonial post in Greece. Sakellaropoulou was sworn in in March 2020, becoming the first woman in the role.
Voters faced with varied set of issues: AJ correspondent
Reporting from a polling station in Athens, Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos says the issues affecting voters “are very wide and varied”.
“They range from national security and defence, because it has been a very difficult period of three years with relations with Turkey,
and of course they stretch to the economy,” he said.
“Even though New Democracy has improved conditions by lowering taxes and raising pensions and the minimum wage, many of these benefits have been swamped by the energy inflation of the last year during the war in Ukraine.”
Socialist leader calls on Greeks to back him
Nikos Androulakis, the leader of the socialist party PASOK-KINAL, has voted on the island of Crete in southern Greece.
“I call on everyone to support the effort we are making and I pledge that I will do everything necessary for a strong social state and sustainable development,” he told reporters after casting his ballot in the village of Arkalohori.
“I call on them to turn their backs on toxicity.”
Tsipras calls on Greeks to ‘turn the page’
Speaking to reporters at the polling station in the neighbourhood of Kipseli, the former prime minister called on Greeks to “turn the page on four difficult years” and pick a “fair government for a better future”.
Η αλλαγή είναι στα χέρια του λαού μας. pic.twitter.com/tmvharDtuK
— Αλέξης Τσίπρας – Alexis Tsipras (@atsipras) May 21, 2023
Translation: Change is in our people’s hands.
Mitsotakis urges ‘stronger’ Greece
Mitsotakis has urged voters to return him to power for a “stronger country”.
“Today we are voting for our future, for more and better jobs, for a more efficient health care system, for a stronger country with an important role in Europe and protected borders,” the 55-year-old said after casting his ballot in Athens.
He was accompanied at the polling station in the neighbourhood of Kifisia by two of his three children.
Cost of living crisis takes centre stage
A cost of living crisis has taken centre stage in campaigning ahead of the vote, with parties trying to woo voters with pledges to increase the minimum wage and create jobs.
Spiralling prices have had a profound effect on Greeks, whose living standards plunged during a decade-long debt crisis.
“We are business owners, we want [the winner] to help us with our business, with our financial situation, so we can survive,” said shopkeeper Vicky, 69, after casting her vote.
After Greece almost crashed out of the eurozone at the peak of its debt crisis in 2015, Mitsotakis, elected in 2019, has portrayed himself as a safe pair of hands in his campaign to win the votes of just below 10 million Greeks.
No outright winner seen in Greek vote
Greece’s general election is unlikely to produce a clear winner, with a second vote expected by July if the country’s fractious political parties fail to agree to a coalition.
Opinion polls have placed the ruling conservative New Democracy party ahead, a change to the country’s electoral system means it is likely to fall short of an absolute majority.
New Democracy, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is polling between 31 and 38 percent, followed by opposition left-wing Syriza, trailing by four to seven percentage points.
Pollsters say a party would need more than 45 percent to win outright.