Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s party was set to win gubernatorial races in more than half of Greece’s 13 regions, following New Democracy’s victory in parliamentary elections in June.
(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s party was set to win gubernatorial races in more than half of Greece’s 13 regions, following New Democracy’s victory in parliamentary elections in June.
New Democracy-backed candidates were leading Sunday night in at least seven regions with some 70% of ballots counted. Other regions, where no candidate was polling more than 43%, were headed toward runoff elections on next Sunday. Mayoral elections also were held.
Mitsotakis’ approval rating has slipped amid criticism of his handling of summer wildfires and devastating floods in September. He set a high bar by saying his party’s goal is to win in all regions and in Greece’s three biggest municipalities.
“Citizens reaffirmed their trust in New Democracy and the choices it made,” the premier said Sunday night.
Regional leaders will be called on to handle $8 billion in European Union funds in the next few years, adding to Mitsotakis’ incentives for victory. That will require good cooperation with the central government in Athens, he told Alpha TV last week.
The Greek economy is forecast to grow by 2.3% this year and expand by 3% in 2024. Next year’s budget envisages a primary surplus of 1.1% of gross domestic product in 2023, increasing to 2.1% in 2024.
Three rating firms — Japan’s Rating and Investment Information Inc., Germany’s Scope Ratings and Canada’s DBRS Morningstar — have already placed Greece’s sovereign credit rating into investment grade. Moody’s Investors Service recently upgraded Greece by two notches to one step away from exiting junk status.
S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings are due to give updates on Oct. 20 and Dec. 1 respectively. Both have Greece one notch below investment grade.
Read more: Mitsotakis Says Greek Tourism Can Benefit From Climate Change
Center-right New Democracy won all but one region in 2019, just before Mitsotakis took office for the first time.
Syriza, the main opposition party, was headed for defeat in all regional governor races. That follows its slump in support in the national election despite electing a new president in September. The socialist Pasok party managed to win one region, the island of Crete, where its candidate was also backed by New Democracy.
Almost half of the voters didn’t show up at the polls. In Athens, turnout for the municipal vote was slightly less than 32%.
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