“I will work hard to persuade our fellow citizens who have not supported us that I am here for everyone, for every Greek,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is set to become the next Prime Minister said after the outgoing Premier Alexis Tsipras conceded defeat.
With 98 percent of the ballots counted, the right-wing conservative party won 39.84 percent of the vote securing 158 of the 300-seat parliament, which means an absolute majority. The snap election was called after Syriza suffered a defeat in European elections in May.
"Today, with our head held high we accept the people's verdict. To bring Greece to where it is today we had to take difficult decisions at a heavy political cost," Tsipras announced.
Yet Syriza is far from done, the party will hold 86 seats in parliament, becoming the country's main opposition party. Meanwhile, the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party failed to secure any seats, although the far-right Greek Solution party will have representation.
Syriza slides to defeat in Greece after twice betraying a popular mandate against austerity and after a decade of hapless govt. Varoufakis’s party wins nine seats in parliament. Congrats to @yanisvaroufakis, @deineuropa, @HorvatSrecko & co.
"The basic reason (for the result) is the economy," said analyst Theodore Couloumbis. "In the past 4.5 years people saw no improvement, on the contrary, there were cutbacks in salaries and pensions," he added.
Greece endured a debilitating financial crisis from 2010 that required three cash lifelines from its European Union partners. The economy is the public's main concern, said Thomas Gerakis of pollsters MARC.
In 2018, unemployment rates were sitting at 18% and according to Eurostat data 35 percent of Greeks are poor and more than 20 percent have severe material deprivation. After almost a decade of austerity-induced measures, the center-left leader kept promising relief measures, that for some never unfolded.
However, the outgoing PM warned prior to the elections that a vote cast for Mitsotakis would go to the political establishment, which forced Greece to the edge of the precipice in the first place.
Following his campaign promises, the right-wing politician reiterated on Sunday that his government will reduce taxes, increase wages by 11 percent, pledging more investment and employment, especially for the young, adding that he will make Greece's voice stronger on the European stage.