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Several far right parties have unexpectedly entered the Greek parliament


The prime minister of Greece has been sworn in for a second term after a landslide victory in Sunday's election. His conservative New Democracy Party secured more than 40% of the vote. That wasn't too much of a surprise. But as Lydia Emmanouilidou reports from Athens, the entry of several far-right parties into the Greek Parliament was unexpected.

LYDIA EMMANOUILIDOU, BYLINE: As New Democracy's historic lead was becoming clear last night, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the stage in front of flag-waving supporters as fireworks shot into the sky behind him.



EMMANOUILIDOU: The Harvard- and Stanford-educated politician thanked his backers for giving him another four years in office and New Democracy 158 of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament, an outright ruling majority.

NICK MALKOUTZIS: So after four tough years of COVID, energy crisis, cost of living crisis and various other issues, that's a really strong, big victory for Mitsotakis.

EMMANOUILIDOU: Nick Malkoutzis is with the political and economic analysis website MacroPolis. And the various other issues were a spying scandal that embroiled Mitsotakis' government. There were massive protests and calls for him to resign after Greece's deadliest train crash in late February. And more recently, a migrant shipwreck, where hundreds are believed to have lost their lives. Greek voters, though, were focused on pocketbook issues. The economy has improved under Mitsotakis, and he promises more growth in the next four years. Malkoutzis, the analyst, says Greeks opted for continuity and stability.

MALKOUTZIS: The other big story of the night is that it was a disastrous night for the main opposition party, left wing Syriza.

EMMANOUILIDOU: This is the leftist party headed by the former Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras. Malkoutzis and other analysts say their crushing defeat could spell the end for Tsipras and his party. Some have described it as the collapse of the Greek left. The most unexpected outcome of the election, though, are the three far-right ultranationalist parties voted into Parliament. Akritas Kaidatzis teaches constitutional law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He says it's clear that, like other countries in the region, Greece is moving to the right.

AKRITAS KAIDATZIS: The electorate has given its confidence to the far right, and this is something very (inaudible), even shocking. This is a dark time for Greece.

EMMANOUILIDOU: Far-right newcomers to the Greek Parliament include the Spartans Party. This is widely seen as an offshoot of the Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party that was deemed a criminal organization in 2020. The Spartans were largely unknown until one of Golden Dawn's convicted leaders, from his jail cell, endorsed them, which was the fuel that got the party into the Greek Parliament. For NPR News, I'm Lydia Emmanouilidou in Athens. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Lydia Emmanouilidou