If the first round of exit polls are consistent with the final outcome, Greece will have a new Prime Minister following snap elections today, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his center-right New Democracy party winning a majority over Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party, which has been ruling Greece for five years.
Exhausted by years of austerity and disappointed by the government’s bowing to its northern neighbor over a name-change dispute, Greeks sent a powerful message to Tsipras and his leftist party that many said “sold” Greece to foreign governments.
Estimates place Mitsotakis’ victory at 38-42 percent, with Tsipras at 26.5-30.5 percent.
Polls closed at 7:00pm local time.
Tsipras called for early elections three months before the end of his term after his party suffered a stinging 9.5 percent rebuke in May’s European Parliament elections and local elections.
Mitsotakis, 51, is a U.S.-educated ex-venture capitalist and scion of a powerful political family who has mapped out his moves carefully since assuming the helm of New Democracy in early 2016.
His father, Constantinos, was prime minister of Greece from 1990 to 1993 and served for a long time as an imposing force in Greek politics, while his sister, Dora Bakoyiannis, served as foreign minister of the country under New Democracy governments, as well as mayor of Athens from 2002-2006.