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Greek voters expected to return opposition New Democracy to power


Greek voters expected to return opposition New Democracy to power

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Photo: Reuters

Greeks are poised to elect a centre-right government when they go to the polls today.

The snap election was called by incumbent Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in May following major losses for his leftist Syriza party in the European elections. All polls point to a victory for Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party; an outright majority for his conservatives also appears likely.

It will mark a significant shift in a country accustomed to fragile coalition governments since the Greek debt crisis in 2010, which the conservatives were held responsible for.

However, voter anger at continued austerity policies from the Tsipras government—despite successfully exiting the third and final Eurozone bailout programme in 2018—as well as lingering nationalist angst over the Macedonian name-change have harmed Syriza’s popularity.

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A Mitsotakis victory will likely mean a typical pro-business agenda—lowering corporate taxes, selling off assets and reforming social security. However, the EU and international creditors still maintain scrutiny over Greek policies. Mr Mitsotakis may get his way with tax cuts, which creditors appear ready for, but he will remain bound by a requirement that Athens run a 3.5% budget surplus until 2022, limiting his ability to spend.

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