‘WE have definitively closed a traumatic cycle of lies and toxicity that have held the country back and divided society, thus establishing the era of true progress.’
The words of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – made after his and my party New Democracy won a historic second term – are more than rhetoric. They mean something fundamental to the Greek people. This election was a choice between moving forward, together, with a plan for growth and prosperity or moving backwards into chaos once more. My country has chosen stability and progress – by an enormous margin – and we have, together, breathed an enormous sigh of relief.
A total of 2,407,650 Greek citizens voted for New Democracy, giving us 158 seats in Parliament. The next-closest party, far-left Syriza, won just 47 seats. This was a landslide.
I believe that New Democracy’s accomplishment, unprecedented in modern Greek history, has lessons for the centre-right across Europe. We won not by doubling down on our base or through stunts and gimmicks. The Guardian recently reported that many of those voting for New Democracy define themselves as ‘centre-left’ but backed my firmly centre-right party anyway. These voters chose to support my party because they could see that, despite our ideological differences, New Democracy was and is committed to governing in the interests of the whole country. We gave those who do not traditionally support us the opportunity to invest in their own futures and that of our country by demonstrating our ability to formulate a clear plan for stability and growth and then, critically, to stick to that plan.
Greece has suffered for decades from what I have called our ‘see-saw politics’. We have oscillated with alarming pace and regularity between left and right – each election acting as a wholesale reset for the economy. This has held us back. It has put off investors and made doing business and creating jobs very much more difficult. My clients – who invest in Greece and help to create opportunity in a country where youth unemployment stands at 27 per cent – were understandably baffled and perplexed by the country they love, and want to help, changing its mind every four or five years about what sort of country it wanted to be. That changes now, with New Democracy’s second term and decisive majority. Business can be reassured that the plan will be stuck to, citizens can be confident that their government will focus on delivering prosperity, partner countries can be sure that in Greece they find a government that sticks to its word and behaves responsibly.
As I say, this result is best understood by the collective sigh of relief it has elicited from the Greek people. Syriza would have dragged us back to the bad old days. New Democracy has a convincing mandate to carry us forward to prosperity. But winning elections is only the start in politics – we now need to demonstrate that we meant what we said and that we can walk the walk of governing for the nation and sticking to our plan. I am confident that we will reward the Greek people for their wisdom at the ballot box.