The left-wing anti-austerity Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has won the Greek general election. SYRIZA took 36.34% of the vote to give them 99 seats which was then topped up with a further 50 seats as the largest party to make their final tally 149 seats. That means that they gained an overall 78 seats but are are two seats short of an overall majority in the 300 seat Hellenic Parliament.
The ruling centre-right New Democracy (ND) party came second with 76 seats. Excluding the additional 50 seats they took in 2012 that is a drop of just three seats and their overall vote only dropped by 1.85% to 27.81%.
The Athens News Agency reports that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, as he handed over to SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, said “Deeply moved, I thank from my heart all the women and men that stood beside us in this difficult race. I want them to feel proud of this battle that we waged together, just as I feel very proud of them. The Greek people have spoken and we all respect their decision”.
The Prime Minister continued “My conscience is clear. I took over a country on the verge of disaster. I was asked to hold ‘lit coals’ in my hands and I did it. Most gave us few prospects of lasting. But we withstood. We averted the worst. We pulled the country out of the deficits, out of the recession, we restored the credibility and the standing of our country, we laid the foundations for growth and for a final exit from the crisis.
“In the last two and half years, we created a new tradition of consensus and coalition governments, unknown in Greece. Greece needs bold consensuses and we dared [to do this]. We were obliged to take painful measures. And there were some mistakes and injustices. But we averted much worse things.
“So, today, I hand over a country without deficits, with security for the citizen, with firm support in the world and in our region. A country that is making an orderly exit from the crisis. Above all, I hand over a country that is a member of the European Union and the euro. For the good of this country, I hope that the next government preserves these gains. I have a clear conscience because I told the people the truth right to the end. I honestly hope that my predictions are not proved true. Because it is Greece we are talking about. But I had an obligation to give a warning.”
“The election result is not pleasant for us. But it showed that ND stood firm, that ND is on its feet. Despite the very difficult but unavoidable measures we were forced to take, in two and half years ND appears to have lost only two points in relation to the elections in 2012. And it remains ready to play a decisive role in developments from here on forward, as a guarantor of the country’s European course, of stability, security and the reforms that must progress. ND’s role in upcoming developments will be crucial, I guarantee that it will play this role to the utmost,” he said.
The third party in parliament is the far-right Golden Dawn (XA) which took 17 seats (-1) and centre-left The River (To Potami) came fourth with 17 seats as new entrants into parliament.
Three other parties will be represented in parliament, they are the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 15 seats (+3), Independent Greeks (ANEL) with 3 seats (-7) and Panhellenic Socialist Movement-Democratic Alignment (PASOK-DP) 13 seats (-20).
The Independent Greeks are expected to form a coalition with SYRIZA to give the major party the required majority to abandon the bailout measures and reverse austerity programmes. At the time of writing only Asian markets had opened for the day and their response was fairly muted.