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Photos of the Joy and Heartbreak at This Week's Greek Elections

Young voters played a key role in ousting leftist Prime Minister Tsipras for abandoning his anti-corruption message.

by Melpomeni Maragkidou and Kostas Koukoumakas
09 July 2019, 8:45am

Photo: Panos Kefalos

A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Greece.

Facing down a heatwave, Greek voters turned out in the lowest numbers since 1974 on Sunday night to vote in the country's general elections. As the polls predicted, the right-wing New Democracy party received 39.85 percent of the votes and is set to win the absolute majority. That means Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be the prime minister, replacing Alexis Tsipras whose Syriza party came in second place at 31.53 percent.

Tsipras gained power in 2015 from New Democracy by promising to stand up to EU austerity, but his popularity was quickly dimmed by economic turmoil. Youth unemployment skyrocketed in the early 2010s to almost 60 percent. It's back down to about 40 percent, but that's still more than double the EU average of 15 percent. As a result, many young Greeks broke from Tsipras' Syriza party in the recent EU elections.

Campaigning on lowering tax rates and privatisation, Mitsotakis comes from a political dynasty, as both his father and sister were high-ranking politicians. He rejuvenated the image of his party after he lost out to Tsipras' anti-corruption message in 2015. But his critics say his family are an example of the political elites that fostered the culture of nepotism that helped bring about Greece's economic crash in the first place.

Syntagma Square in central Athens – a site of mass protest during the debt crisis – was silent on Sunday as Syriza supporters watched the results come in while desperately looking for shade. Meanwhile in Klafthmonos Square, just a few streets away, Mitsotakis supporters celebrated their victory.

Photographers Panos Kefalos and Orestis Seferoglou were there to capture the joy and heartbreak.

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New Democracy voter ringing a bell, wrapped in the party's flag. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Syriza supporters on Syntagma square. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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A New Democracy voter celebrating the results. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Disappointed Syriza supporters. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Alexis Tsipras leaving after his concession speech. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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Father and son supporting New Democracy. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Syriza's rally in Syntagma square. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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Mitsotakis supporters celebrating. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Syriza voters, tensely awaiting the results. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou.
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Celebrations after New Democracy's win. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Tsipras supporters at Syriza's rally. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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Journalists covering the New Democracy rally. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Journalists in Syntagma square. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Photo: Panos Kefalos
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Alexis Tsipras. Photo: Orestis Seferoglou
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Elections
VICE International
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Alexis Tsipras
Kyriakos Mitsotakis