New Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis formally took power Monday, a day after he said the electoral victory shows there’s a strong mandate for change in the Mediterranean nation.
Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party beat incumbent leader Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party with about 40 percent of the vote Sunday. The Golden Dawn Party fell short of the 3 percent minimum needed to enter Parliament, down from 7 percent at the last election.
Tsipras officially handed over power to Mitsotakis in a ceremony Monday in front of the presidential mansion.
“It’s an important victory for Europe, not just for Greece,” Mitsotakis told CNBC. “I’m very proud that I took over a party that was at 28 percent in the last election and taken it to almost 40 percent.
“That means there is a real strong mandate for change in Greece, and this is what I have promised to deliver and this is what I will do.”
Greece is still reeling from the depression that forced it to accept austerity from the European Union. Mitsotakis said he plans to revitalize the Greek economy with privatization, business-friendly regulations and lower taxes. He also wants a new deal with the EU.
“I believe I can negotiate with the Europeans more fiscal space and the markets are showing that they are quite excited about us coming into power,” he said.
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Mitsotakis, who studied at Harvard and Stanford, comes from a political dynasty. His father previously served as the leader of the New Democracy Party.
Tsipras conceded defeat in a live television broadcast.
“The result has been determined … but we will be back,” Tsipras said.
“I think that in all sectors we have improved the situation that we’ve had in the past,” outgoing diplomat Giorgos Katrougalos told CNBC. “But the people expected more from us — more and faster.
“I don’t think that something went wrong. Simply the expectations of the people were greater than what we would deliver to them.”