Greece to hold national elections on May 21
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday that the country will hold parliamentary elections on May 21.
The announcement comes after a deadly train crash sparked widespread protests against the government.
"The country and its citizens need clear horizons," Mitsotakis told the Cabinet during a televised meeting. "National elections... will be held on Sunday 21 May," he said.
In line with Greek law, the government had to call an election by July this year at the latest.
Mitsotakis' conservative New Democracy (ND) party will face off against its main opposition, the leftist Syriza party which led the government from 2015 to 2019, under former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The May election will be the first to be held using the recently introduced system of proportional representation. A second round of voting, if needed, will be held in early July at the latest, Mitsotakis said.
Opinion polls show ND slightly above Syriza, but it is unlikely that the election will produce a clear winner.
Greece heading to polls amid outbreak of anger
"Greece is in a much better place in 2023 than in 2019," Mitsotakis said, according to Greek newspaper I Kathimerini. "Our work continues, of course, we weren't without mistakes."
He called on voters to look to other countries that have been caught in a cycle of elections that have produced no clear winner and left them without governments.
"There will be elections in neighboring Bulgaria on Sunday," he said. "They are the fifth elections in two years."
The 55-year-old followed in the footsteps of his late father, former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, and he remained popular during his term.
But scandals, such as the deadly train crash that left 57 mainly young students dead — which protesters said happened because of the lack of government investment and regulation — as well as allegations of wiretapping by Greek security forces on political opponents and journalists, have damaged his reputation.
ab/fb (AFP, Reuters, AP)