Only 56.11 percent of the Greeks (3,730,456 out of 6,190,946 registered voters) went to the polls on Sunday, electing for a second time in under nine months 41-year-old Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party.
Tsipras, who will be sworn in as prime minister later tonight, will form a coalition government with right-wing ANEL (Independent Greeks) in order to secure a majority standing in parliament ahead of yet another difficult period for the Greeks set to include more tax rises, further wage cuts and additional austerity measures.
The Syriza party clinched 35.47 percent of the votes with conservative rivals New Democracy not far behind at 28 percent. During this round, ultra right wing nationalists Golden Dawn grew into the third biggest party, winning 7 percent of the vote, against 6.3 percent in the January polls.
“We’ve received a four-year mandate,” Mr Tsipras said from his party headquarters late on Sunday night.
“The Greek people have given us a clear mandate to carry on fighting inside and outside the country.”
“We have difficulties ahead, but we are also on firm ground. We know where we stand, we have potential,” he concluded after thanking ANEL for their support.
Snap elections were called in August, after Syriza lost its majority when it decided to go ahead and sign a third bailout deal with international creditors despite a resounding “no” by the Greek people in a July 5 referendum. The new government now has to meet the terms of the 86 billion euro bailout deal, with creditors due to review the progress made next month.
Eight parties will hold seats in Greece’s 300-seat parliament with Syriza securing 145 seats together with ANEL at 10 (155), New Democracy 75 seats, Golden Dawn 18 seats, Pasok-Dimar 17 seats, the communist KKE party with 15 seats, Potami 11 seats and fringe party Center Union with nine seats.
The new government is scheduled to be sworn in on Tuesday, with the Mr Tsipras departing for Brussels on Wednesday, to attend an emergency EU Summit on migration.