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Greece to hold early elections on May 21: PM Mitsotakis

Greece will hold an early parliamentary election on May 21, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced.

The conservative government’s four-year term expires in July.

“The country and its citizens need clear horizons… the national elections will be held at the end of the four-year term, as I had committed from the start,” Mitsotakis told a televised cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

While opinion polls show Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party in the lead over the main opposition, the leftist Syriza party, the gap has narrowed following a rail disaster on February 28.

Mitsotakis said that if a clear majority is not secured in the first round of the elections, a second round will be held by early July.

The May 21 poll will take place under a newly-introduced system of proportional representation. 

The system makes it difficult for a party to gain a clear majority, setting the stage for a second, run-off round that will take place “at the latest by early July”, the premier said. 

Tens of thousands of protesters clash with police over Greece train crash

‘Clear skies’

The February 28 train crash in northern Greece left 57 people dead. The disaster stirred public anger, cutting a lead by the conservative New Democracy party by about half to 4 points over its left-wing main rival, Syriza.

“The country needs clear skies … our work continues more boldly and with fewer compromises,” Mitsotakis said during the meeting.

Mitsotakis, the 55-year-old son of the late former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, has remained popular throughout his four-year term. 

But more recently his reputation has been dented by allegations of wiretapping by state security services, as well as the government’s failure to protect rail network safety.

The election is unlikely to produce a new government.

READ MORE: Stationmaster charged as PM Mitsotakis apologises over Greece train crash

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