Greece: interim prime minister invested before new elections

Acting Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas was sworn in on Thursday in Athens, another step towards a second ballot in Greece by the end of June following a right-wing victory in Sunday’s elections.

Ioannis Sarmas, 66, was appointed chairman of the auditors by the republic’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Thursday after the desired failure by the main parties of attempts to form a coalition government.

The senior magistrate, who notably completed a doctorate in human rights in Paris, has to form a government by Friday.

After a brief ceremony he outlined, “the interim government will have the sole authority to enforce laws” and “to hold elections”.

The 300 representatives elected on May 21 are due to meet for the first time on Sunday in parliament, which will be dissolved the following day when the election date is officially announced.

They are most likely to take place on June 25, as now former Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants.

Ioannis Sarmas, whose mandate will expire after the next election, will replace Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the right-wing New Democracy, who won a landslide victory in Sunday’s election with 40% of the vote.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Presidential Palace in Athens on May 24, 2023 (AFP – Louisa Gouliamaki)

Despite this victory, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was unable to obtain an absolute majority as he had desired and therefore immediately asked for a new ballot.

It is betting on giving a bonus of up to 50 seats to the party that comes out on top in this second ballot, which will take place with a different voting system. According to his calculations, this bonus could allow him to obtain an absolute majority.

Former leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party won only 71 seats, admitted Sunday he suffered a “painful” and “unexpected blow” with just 20% of the vote, less than half that of his main rival.

However, he pledged to “fight a new battle” against the “omnipotent” right-wing government, which is “bad for democracy”.

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