New Greek parliament convenes, only to be dissolved as early as Monday

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Greece's former Prime Minister and leader of New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis, third right front row, attends a swearing in ceremony at the parliament in Athens, Greece, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Newly elected Greek lawmakers were sworn in Sunday, but the Parliament elected on May 21 could be dissolved as early as Monday and a new election campaign start for another election, on June 25. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS – Newly elected Greek lawmakers were sworn in Sunday but the Parliament in which they sit may be dissolved as early as Monday, ahead of fresh elections on June 25.

No party achieved an overall majority in the election on May 21, which was held under simple proportional representation.

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The ruling New Democracy, with 40.79% of the vote, won 146 seats, five short of an overall majority in the 300-member chamber. The main opposition Syriza, with 20.07% - almost 11.5 points lower than in the previous election – won 71. The socialist PASOK was third.

There was no attempt to form a coalition and the leaders of the three main parties returned their mandates to form a government almost as soon as they got them.

A constitutionally mandated meeting on Wednesday with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and all five leaders of the parties represented in parliament merely confirmed that a second election would take place. A caretaker government headed by a senior judge was sworn in Thursday.

The next election will be contested under a different system.

The lawmakers will elect the speaker and deputy speakers Monday morning. Parliament will be dissolved either Monday or Tuesday, signaling the start of the electoral campaign.

The new election will be fought under a different system awarding a bonus of 25-50 seats to the winning party, depending on its performance.

Although New Democracy is the clear favorite, an overall majority is by no means automatic: the more parties there are in parliament, the higher the share of the vote needed for an outright majority will be.

On May 21, two more parties barely missed the 3% threshold for gaining parliamentary representation. If they get in on June 25, this could raise the score required for the election winner to achieve an overall majority to about 39%.

New Democracy officials appealed to voters not to take the result for granted and abstain, while opposition leaders called on the people to clip New Democracy’s wings and avoid the prospect of an all-powerful conservative government.