Left-wing party holds onto power in Greek election
Radio New Zealand International
September 20, 2015 6:05 pm
Greece’s conservative New Democracy party has admitted defeat to Alexis Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza in the nation’s fifth election in six years.
The concession came as Syriza was given a lead of 35 percent to New Democracy’s 28 percent, with 21 percent of votes counted, interior ministry data showed.
This would not give Syriza an absolute majority, and the party would need partners to form a government.
The snap election was called after Syriza lost its majority in August.
Mr Tsipras’s popularity had plummeted after he agreed a new financial bailout deal with international creditors.
New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis said: "The electoral result appears to be concluding with Syriza and Mr Tsipras in the lead.
“I congratulate him and urge him to create the government which is needed.”
Syriza supporters at the party’s main electoral HQ in Athens earlier cheered and clapped as exit polls were announced.
Tsipras was hugged by party supporters as he arrived there.
On hearing the exit polls, Syriza member and ex-energy minister Panos Skourletis said on local TV: “It is the first time a party brings in a tough bailout deal and is rewarded. Until now, the electorate was clearly anti-bailout.”
One projection on the current vote count gives Syriza 144 seats in the 300-seat parliament, with New Democracy on 75. But this is short of an absolute majority.
Tsipras had signed the bailout deal shortly after holding a referendum in which more than 60 percent of voters rejected the austerity measures creditors wanted to impose.
In interviews leading up to the election, Tsipras said he had put his country above his party. He said that had he not agreed to the three-year bailout, Greece would probably have had to leave the eurozone.