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A new conservative Greek prime minister took office today following a strong election victory yesterday over the incumbent leftist government.
Conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was being sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister Monday, a day after his resounding win over left-wing Alexis Tsipras, who led the country through the tumultuous final years of its international bailouts.
Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party won 39.8% of the vote, giving him 158 seats in the 300-member parliament, a comfortable governing majority. Tsipras’ Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, garnered 31.5%. The extremist right-wing Golden Dawn, Greece’s third largest party during the height of the financial crisis, failed to make the 3% threshold to enter parliament. [emphasis mine]
This conservative victory probably is more about with the pain caused during Greece’s recent financial crisis, under leftist rule, and less about rejecting leftist policies. Greece had become bankrupt after decades of bad policy at the top by everyone, and the tough love required to get them out of that hole was almost certainly the reason the left lost.
Still, this election continues a general worldwide trend in the world’s democracies, whereby the voters reject the status quo by throwing an incumbent out of office for a new face. The trend also suggests that the new face has a golden opportunity to change that status quo, in a radical manner.
Note that the status quo for the past half century has been increased centralized power by governments. Can anyone guess what a change from that would be?