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Politics

After EU Elections Setback, Mitsotakis Now Looks to Cut the Cards

ATHENS – His party dominates and polls show none of his rivals are close to matching his popularity but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – unsatisfied with New Democracy’s showing in European Parliament elections is seen looking to shuffle his Cabinet – again.

The Conservatives candidates got 28.1 percent of the vote, below the 33 percent threshold he set – and far less than the 40.67 percent he won in 2023 general elections – and the results saw big gains for far-right parties.

The major rival SYRIZA and once-prevalent PASOK Socialists didn’t make any gains, garnering 14.92 percent and 12.79 percent, but the ultra-nationalist Greek Solution doubled its vote to 9.3 percent.

Three other far-right parties combined for 11.7 percent, bringing a total of 20 percent for those aligned with that ideology and bringing some alarm they are rising in the wake of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn leaders jailed for running a criminal gang.

“I will not hide the truth. Our party did not reach the goal we had set. Nor am I interested in arguments such as that the difference with the second party is the biggest in the history of the European elections,” Mitsotakis said.

“We knew from the beginning that this election would be very difficult. Citizens who supported us in 2023 knew that now they were not electing a government and, perhaps faced this battle differently,” noting a record 60 percent abstention.

The introspection is reportedly pushing him to look to once again move around ministers in his Cabinet with party analysts looking at a defection of traditionalist voters over Mitsotakis bringing gay marriage as one reason for the voters shift.

He canceled a visit to Jordan on June 11 to go on Alpha TV’s main newscast where it was said he would talk about a “new starting point” that seemed to indicate he would look for a new direction among advisors.

Mitsotakis is on the horns of a dilemma: he has to appeal to his base center-right, a more deeply conservative grouping and voters disenchanted with high food prices and concerns in the party it’s become too complacent and taken people for granted.

Government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis referred to a “Pyrrhic victory,” that saw New Democracy with a big lead over its splintered rivals and no real challenger as SYRIZA’s new leader Stefanos Kasselakis is struggling to raise the Leftists.

Mitsotakis also said that, “There were also many voters who wanted to protest about issues that concern their daily lives, mainly inflation…I hear their voice and their demand and I hear it loud. ‘We trust you, but try harder.’ And that’s what we’re going to do,” he added.

Mitsotakis noted his party reminded the top in Greece but saw what he called a troubling trend in Europe toward the far right. “These elections are the starting point of a new path towards 2027,” he said, referring to the next general elections.

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