A record abstention rate close to 60 per cent, losses for New Democracy and gains for far right parties, and an increase in anti-systemic voting were the main messages from Greece’s European elections overnight.

The two Greek Australian candidates Thanasis Tsouhantaris, and Katerina Priftaki, running for New Democracy (ND) and SYRIZA respectively also failed to make the cut.

Mitsotakis: “We need to try harder”

“The message the Greek people sent to the government is ‘We trust you, but try harder,'” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis following the vote after huis party New Democracy lost ground.

Pledging that, “This is what we will do to move more quickly and steadily closer to Europe,” emphasising that New Democracy remains the dominant political force in Greece.

He also noted the rise of the far-right in Europe and in Greece, while clarifying that the government has three years til the next general election and will accelerate its efforts for better results and fewer failures.

Mitsotakis committed that just as Greece of 2024 is much better than in 2019, Greece of 2027 will be much better than today.

“We want it, we can do it, and we will achieve it,” he stated.

New Democracy candidates elected. Photo: AMNA

Mitsotakis pointed out that New Democracy received a percentage greater than the sum of the next two parties combined and thanked the voters who trusted his party once again. He stated that New Democracy’s MEPs will give their best in the mission that awaits them in a European Parliament “where unfortunately, the rise of the far-right is a reality, and our homeland is not exempt.”

The prime minister admitted that “our party did not reach the goal it had set, and I am not interested in arguments such as the difference from the second party being the largest in the history of the European elections.”

He also said that he knew from the start that this electoral process would be very difficult and added that “the citizens who supported us in 2023 knew that a government was not being elected and approached this battle differently. During the pre-election period, and despite my efforts, there was a lack of substantial concern about the future of Europe and our country’s position in it.”

The prime minister highlighted that “there were certainly many voters who wanted to protest about issues in their daily lives, most notably the high cost of living. I respect their choice, whether it was expressed through unprecedented abstention or by choosing smaller parties. However, I hear their voices, and I hear them loudly,” he said, concluding by noting that “in Germany and France, dominant government parties have retreated dramatically. However, in Greece, New Democracy remains dominant and one of the largest center-right parties in Europe. Fifty years after its founding, New Democracy is the only force in the country that can offer stability in turbulent times.”

SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis. Photo: AMNA/X

Kasselakis: “The alibi of 41 per cent is now over…”

“Proud of the fight given by everyone in SYRIZA,” leader Stefanos Kasselakis, stated late Sunday night while the counting of votes for the European elections was still ongoing.

Given that the final estimate of the election result brings SYRIZA to 14.7 per cent (and 4 seats), Kasselakis expressed his satisfaction that his party reduced the gap from New Democracy, “from 23 per cent to 13 per cent.”

“The alibi of 41 per cent is now over… by choice of the Greek people,” stressed the SYRIZA leader, who also hinted at the expenses of New Democracy’s pre-election campaign.

“This is the first step for a party that is changing on the move…” added Kasselakis, who believed he was given the mandate to make the changes he plans for SYRIZA.

“The Greek people have given me time to build an alternative government proposal, this party only has to go up from here on.”

PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis casts his EU vote. Photo: AMNA

PASOK-KINAL: Strengthening and moving forward progressively

“PASOK does not celebrate; it increases its strength, and this cannot go unnoticed. It shows that it is moving progressively forward—not galloping, but certainly not stepping backward,” stated associates of leader Nikos Androulakis as the Ministry of Interior finalised the election results.

They noted that PASOK has dealt a blow to the government, securing first place in two regions, Lasithi and Heraklion in Crete.

At party headquarters in Charilaou Trikoupi, emphasis was placed on PASOK being recorded as the second party behind New Democracy in 21 electoral districts (Aitoloakarnania, Arcadia, Argolida, Grevena, Dodecanese, Evros, Evrytania, Ilia, Thesprotia, Kavala, Karditsa, Kozani, Laconia, Larisa, Lefkada, Pieria, Rethymno, Trikala, Florina, Chalkidiki, Chios).

They added that in the June 2023 elections, PASOK was ahead of SYRIZA in 10 regions. In June 2024, PASOK surpassed SYRIZA in 23 regions where it is either the first or second party, and in 6 regions where it is the third party (Drama, Serres, Kilkis, Rodopi, Pella, Imathia).

Party officials also noted that New Democracy has seen a clear decline compared to both the national elections of 2023 and the lower bar it set for itself, i.e., the 2019 European elections.

Party sources also commented on leaks from SYRIZA that Stefanos Kasselakis will take initiatives to reorganise the progressive space.

The same sources also noted that pre-election, Nikos Androulakis was committed to making his own proposal with political and progressive terms.

“Mr. Androulakis did not set imperial terms but explained that credibility in society is needed and not a quid pro quo, which is abhorrent to citizens. Everyone will be judged on that.”

They further mentioned that a decisive factor will be the final result of the ballot, which bears no relation to the exit polls.

“The discussion is different with 17 per cent and different when the two parties are almost equal,” they noted, reminding that Kasselakis had said that he talks with PASOK officials and not with Androulakis.

Leader of Greek Solution, Kyriakos Velopoulos speaks to the press. Photo: AMNA

Velopoulos: “Greece trusted us”

“Today, the pole of patriotic governance of the country was born,” stated the president of Greek Solution, Kyriakos Velopoulos, noting that all Greeks can join his party.

“For the first time in Greece, a party has made a break and achieved a massive upheaval. Despite the war waged against us, the Greek people trusted us. We call on all Greek patriots to join Greek Solution for true patriotic governance. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts. We thank all the people. We wholeheartedly wish that someday the media will realise that Greek Solution is a purely national, social, and popular party that has come to govern by saying this: it is the force of responsibility. Finally, a patriotic governance for the country begins. We are officially the opposition of the country and we will continue until we govern Greece. This is a given. All Greeks can join us. Despite the war, we emerged from the fire. We emerged from the mud, from the swamp that New Democracy and its mouthpieces created. But the patriots are by our side, and we will never disappoint them,” said Velopoulos.

He also referred to the results of the European elections in Thrace and stressed: “I want to comment on what I have been warning about for a long time. Let them take a look at the map in Thrace and the results; maybe some will wake up because this is the worst of all.”

KKE results. Photo: AMNA

Koutsoumbas: KKE records another significant rise

The General Secretary of the communist party KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, expressed gratitude for the support received in the elections, noting the party’s significant rise compared to previous elections. He reiterated the KKE’s ties with broader popular forces and its role in questioning the dominant policy.

“We thank and greet the hundreds of thousands who responded to the KKE’s call and voted for our party today across the country. This confirms the KKE’s ties with broader popular forces and proves that the vote for the KKE expresses more stable bonds, which have been shaped and tested in significant struggles that have preceded, in our continuous, unrelenting effort for direct communication, dialogue, and discussion with the people, in various forms, all days of the year, and not just pre-election, in workplaces and residences,” he noted.

Despite the negative political balance, the KKE leader noted his party’s potential to contribute to the labour-popular struggle and counterattack against the current government.

“We believe,” he continued, “that the large abstention includes a significant percentage of protest against the New Democracy government, as well as disillusionment with the bourgeois political system and its parties and with the EU and its institutions, such as the European Parliament.

“The pre-election confrontation with degenerate terms, far from the critical problems and especially their causes, reinforced the people’s aversion. From this point of view, this stance, which we obviously do not endorse, also has political characteristics, regardless of whether it is expressed in a way that can be misinterpreted, trapped, or ultimately assimilated.”

The communist leader called for active participation in the movement and alignment with the KKE’s revolutionary policy.

“The crucial thing now is the next day. The KKE will leverage the strength given by the people to strengthen its voice where anti-popular decisions are made, such as in the European Parliament and above all to organise the labor-popular struggle in our country. From tomorrow, the EU commitments, the bloody surpluses, the Recovery Fund prerequisites, the two imperialist wars in which our country is deeply involved, will still be here,” Koutsoumbas said.