The Sunday of the Greek elections was a day of mixed emotion for the two major parties and their supporters. The comprehensive rout of New Democracy was mirrored by the comprehensive victory of PASOK.
Victory for Papandreou
PASOK oust New Democracy and form government in their own right
Main opposition PASOK party and its leader George Papandreou posted a landslide election victory on Sunday in Greece's snap election, garnering 43.97 percent of the vote with 96 percent of the nationwide vote counted. PASOK was leading the conservative New Democracy (ND) party by more than 10 percentage points, with the latter receiving 33.67 percent.
One of the first to ring the victorious George Papandreou was the President of the United States, Barack Obama which was reported to have said, "I wanted to be the first to congratulate you." The two leaders agreed to meet soon at a date to be confirmed through diplomatic channels.
The convincing win by Greece's Socialist Party translates into a strong majority in the 300 member Parliament with 160 seats.
ND will be left with 92 seats in what is deemed its worst electoral result ever since it's founding. The second worst result for the conservative party was recorded in 1981 when it garnered 35.8 percent of the popular vote.
In terms of smaller Parliament-represented parties, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stood at 7.46 percent; 4.54 percent for the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance; 5.59 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) and 2.49 percent for the Green party, which was unable to exceed the 3-percent ceiling needed to enter Parliament.
The leader of ND Kostas Karamanlis called to congratulate Mr Papandreou at around 10 o'clock local time. He then proceeded to Zapion Megaron to deliver his speech, consenting defeat. "I would like to thank the citizens who supported us in such a difficult economic and political circumstance.
The government had to deal with the worst storm of the biggest postwar crisis. At the same time I presented candidly the economic measures that needed to be taken.
I would also like to congratulate George Papandreou for his victory and we wish he succeeds in this great challenge that is a national cause. As president of ND I had the opportunity to lead the election campaign in 4 national elections."
He went on to say: "Millions of citizens were with us in that goal.
In 2000 we managed to increase our percentages impressively and in 2004 we won the elections. In 2007 we succeeded in another important electoral victory. In the current elections I raised as the major issue the needed decisions that would [remedy] the chronic weaknesses of our economy and it's recovery from the financial crisis with the least amount of impact. I submitted a comprehensive plan that I believed was the most secure way for the development of our economy; a long term development and prosperity. The majority of citizens did not approve this option and their decision is respected."
"[...] I'll remain on the frontline and I will support the decisions that will be reached, but I will not be a candidate. I will remain on the frontline in support of the national interest."
In contrast, outside the PASOK headquarters on Ippokratous Street a large crowd had gathered from early on to cheer Mr Papandreou. He made a brief appearance at around 11 o'clock local time and addressed the crowd. Among other things the new Greek Prime Minister thanked everyone involved in the campaign leading up to PASOK's electoral route."
Later on, Mr Papandreou also appeared in Zapion Megaron: "[...] It is a great honour and thrill. Together we shall turn the page and I thank you all.
We're changing course for Greece and for everybody's life. Together we are beginning a national effort so that the country enters the course of recovery, progress and creativity. Our only compass for every action will be [the interest of] the citizen and only that. In this course nothing will be simple."
"It needs hard work. And I will always be candid so that we can together solve the problems. I'm not asking for your tolerance, I'm asking for your participation. I'm well aware of the enormous capabilities of this land. Forces that are smothered under anomy and squander.I'm committing to put all my efforts so that Greeks believe that when we are united and work systematically without any prejudice we can succeed. We are beginning the great course for building the country that we want. We don't have one day to waste. I'm inviting every Greek and all progressive forces who want to join their efforts in this difficult moment, so that we can create a Greece we're all going to be proud of. We want it, we can make it happen, we can succeed."
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