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WORLD NEWS | Greek government wins vote of confidence in parliament, starts second four-year term


ATHENS, July 9 (Xinhua) — Greece’s conservative government has won a vote of confidence in parliament to start its second four-year term, two weeks after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democratic Party easily won the election.

After three days of low-key debate, 300 lawmakers approved the government’s policy statement by a vote of 158 to 142 on Saturday. The vote was as expected, with only NDP MPs voting for the government.

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Mitsotakis’ NDP won the June 25 election with 40.56 percent of the vote, compared with 17.83 percent for the leftist Syriza and 17.83 percent for the socialist Panhellenic Socialist Movement Party (PASOK). The vote rate was 11.84%.

There are eight parties in parliament, up from six in the 2019-23 legislature and five in the short-lived parliament elected on May 21. While the results were broadly similar, no party secured an outright majority in that election. The June 25 election was held under a different electoral law, which provided extra seats to the winner.

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Three parties in parliament belong to the right wing of the NDP. There are fears that this will lead to an unruly legislature, with frequent confrontations. But the debate has not substantiated those fears. Mitsotakis himself notes and welcomes the lack of verbal pyrotechnics.

A strong presence on the far right may have reduced the size of Mitsotakis’ parliamentary majority, but it also gives him a chance to claim he represents a broad swath of voters, from mainstream conservatives to those on the unwanted center left. See Syriza return to power. Exit polls show the NDP dominating among voters who consider themselves centrist, much like in 2019.

The Greek prime minister’s two speeches, the one he opened the debate on Thursday and the one he concluded on Saturday night, had something to offer each seemingly different audience. He has sounded tough on security issues, touting a massive arms acquisition program, including future purchases of the US-made F-35 multirole fighter jet. He also highlighted his tough policies on immigration.

But Mitsotakis has also placed himself at the forefront of addressing the adverse effects of climate change, committing to continuing subsidies to the vulnerable while pursuing market-friendly policies. He said he would legislate to legalize same-sex marriage. Most importantly, he promised to modernize the inefficient Greek state, especially the national health and justice systems. It is no coincidence that he appointed two senior politicians as health and justice ministers, both ex-socialists who earned a reputation as effective modernization agents in the early 2000s.

Opposition speakers have accused the Conservative government of various shortcomings. Socialist leader Nicos Andrew Lakis has claimed they used information gleaned from tapping politicians’ phones, including his, during the campaign, while stifling inquiries into the matter.

Wiretapping, a deadly train crash and the recent capsizing of a boat carrying hundreds of migrants have failed to sway voters. Ultimately, the outcome of the election will be determined by the state of the economy, perceived progress and the desire not to see Syriza return to power. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)


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