Mitsotakis: the PM who steered Greece from brink to growth seals second term in landslide victory

AFP , Sunday 25 Jun 2023

Greek ex-prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who clinched a landslide victory in Sunday's general election, is credited with returning his debt-ridden country to a path of growth.

Greece president Mitsotakis
File photo: Greek former prime minister and leader of Greece s conservative party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis leaves after voting at a polling station during the general election in Athens on June 25, 2023. AFP


A scion of a conservative dynasty prominent in Greek politics for decades, the 55-year-old won over 40 percent of the vote -- and a 22.6-point margin over leftist rivals Syriza -- and will embark on his second term as prime minister on Monday after the huge win.

Voters have rewarded the Harvard graduate, who worked at US financial consultancy McKinsey, for offering his country a rare respite from economic instability in the face of global upheavals including the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Although Greece lost out on vital tourism revenues during Covid, it posted growth of 8.3 percent in 2021 and 5.9 percent in 2022.

Greece's remarkable economic recovery from the Covid health crisis was one of Mitsotakis' top campaign arguments, in addition to heavy spending on defence.

Vowing to bring sustained stability to Greece, he also pledged to hire 10,000 doctors and nurses for the understaffed public health system, while vowing not to raise taxes.

Wooing young voters

Born in Athens in 1968, Mitsotakis hails from one of Greece's most influential political families of the past century.

His father Konstantinos Mitsotakis was prime minister from 1990 to 1993.

His sister Dora Bakoyannis was mayor of Athens and a government minister. Her son is the capital's current mayor.

First elected to parliament in 2004, Mitsotakis became leader of New Democracy in 2016 and took Greece's top job in 2019, trouncing leftist Alexis Tsipras, who had been premier during some of Greece's rockiest economic years.

In February, Greece suffered its worst train tragedy when two locomotives collided, killing 57 people.

Mitsotakis was forced to delay the election, but still triumphed in May.

Earlier this month, at least 78 migrants died and hundreds went missing after an overcrowded trawler sank off Greece just weeks before the polls.

Keen to woo the conservative base, Mitsotakis has maintained a tough line on migration, a key issue in Greece given its location as a landing point for tens of thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, many fleeing conflict or poverty.

*This story was edited Ahram Online

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