Greek conservative leader concedes election defeat
Greece’s New Democracy party leader has conceded defeat in national elections to his leftist rival, Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The leader of the conservative party, Vangelis Meimarakis, said on Sunday that the priority for the country was to form a government.
“The electoral result appears to be concluding with Syriza and Mr Tspiras in the lead,” Meimarakis told journalists, adding, “I congratulate him and urge him to create the government which is needed and come to parliament.”
The concession came as latest exit polls suggest that Tsipras’s Syriza party has won 33 percent to 35 percent of the vote compared to between 28.5 to 30 percent for New Democracy.
In the race for third place, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party is expected to pick up between 6.5 and 8.0 percent of the vote.
Nearly 10 million people were eligible to vote in the election, which will select a new government to implement a three-year 86-billion-euro (USD 98-billion) bailout adopted by the country’s parliament in August.
Tsipras came to power in January after garnering 36.34 percent of the vote amid the Greeks’ discontent with the harsh austerity measures.
However, his supporters were upset with him after he signed a cash-for-reforms agreement with Greece’s international lenders in July while Greek voters had already overwhelmingly said “No” to more austerity in a national referendum.
Tsipras then resigned and called a snap election in a bid to get a strong enough majority to carry out the reforms. This is Greece’s fifth snap elections in six years as the nation is grappling with a protracted financial crisis.
Athens has received two bailout packages worth a total of EUR 240 billion (USD 272 billion) over the past five years.