Alexis Tsipras and his left-wing Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, suffered a humiliating defeat on Sunday at the hands of the centre-right New Democracy party.
With all of the precincts reporting, New Democracy came in first, with 158 of the 300 seats. Tsipras’ Syriza party won 86 seats, which is a loss of 59 seats.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis who leads New Democracy celebrated with supporters at party headquarters in Athens, where he hailed them for the landslide victory that the voters delivered.
Mitsotakis campaigned on increasing employment by attracting foreign investment, lowering taxes, and cutting burdensome regulations.
Tsipras and his leftist government consistently argued that ushering in a New Democracy government would be a return to the status. Mitsotakis is the son of a former prime minister and the brother of a former foreign minister.
When Tsipras and his Syriza party came to power in 2015, it campaigned aggressively to reverse the austerity measures brought forth by New Democracy after the financial crises which began in 2008.
His proposals failed after intense negotiations with the European Union, and Tsipras agreed to a bailout which saw a drastic increase in taxes, with significant cuts in government expenditures.
Golden Dawn, a neo-nazi party which has had a number of its politicians imprisoned for a variety of criminal activities, fell short of the three per cent threshold, losing all eighteen of its parliamentarians.
The Union of the Centrists, which is allied with the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, took a mere 1.7% of the vote, losing all nine of its seats.
Parties contesting parliamentary elections for the first time include two which passed the three per cent threshold.
MeRa25 led by Yanis Varoufakis won nine seats. Varoufakis briefly served in parliament as a Syriza MP, and as finance minister before leaving the government after it agreed to the bailout with the European Union. Varoufakis urged Greeks to defend democracy by voting for MeRa25.
Varoufakis said that “Democracy only belongs to those who have the courage to defend it. Today, the only way to defend it is by voting on the basis of the parties’ programs and their record.”
The other new party to pass the threshold is Greek Solution, which is a right-wing eurosceptic party that won ten seats. Greek Solution is allied with the Tories in the European Parliament.