Greece’s New Democracy party wins European Parliament polls

Athens: Greek main opposition conservative New Democracy (ND) party leads European Parliament elections, garnering 32.7 per cent of the vote against 24 per cent for the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party, according to estimates based on the first official results announced on national broadcaster ERT.

Greeks went to the polls on Sunday to choose their 21 representatives in the next European parliament for the next five years, as well as in regional authorities, municipalities and communities throughout Greece, Xinhua reported on Sunday.

With about 10 per cent of the vote counted nationwide, according to the early projections issued by the Interior Ministry, six parties will most probably send representatives to the European parliament, clearing the three percent threshold needed under Greece’s electoral law.

The centrist Movement for Change (KINAL) wins 7.8 per cent of the vote, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) ranks fourth with 5.6 per cent and the ultra-Right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) garners 4.8 per cent of the vote.

A new right-wing party, the Greek Solution, wins 4.2 per cent of the vote.

DIEM25, a party founded by former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, wins 2.9 per cent of the vote, according to the projections.

Local media commentators noted in first reactions that the outcome may lead to national elections soon, earlier than October this year, when the government’s term in office ends.

So far Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis have not commented on the results.

Several ND deputies participating in talks shows in many TV channels on Sunday evening said that Greece is undergoing a major political change and that after the 2014 European elections when SYRIZA had won ND by 26.6-22.7 per cent of the vote, Tsipras had asked for snap polls.

A party statement reminded that during this pre-election campaign the Prime Minister had asked for a vote of confidence in his government’s policies.

On the other hand, many cabinet ministers, including government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, based on the earlier exit polls, said that it seems that SYRIZA has not suffered a strategic defeat that would justify “political developments”.

The final official results are expected on Monday.