Opposition socialists win snap election


Conservative Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has called opposition leader George Papandreou to concede defeat in Sunday’s elections after early results showed a 7.2-point lead in favour of the socialist Pasok party.

AFP – Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conceded defeat in Sunday’s general elections after early results showed his New Democracy party trailing the socialists by more than seven percent, the party said.

“Mr Karamanlis communicated with Pasok leader George Papandreou by telephone, congratulated him for his party’s victory and wished him every success,” the New Democracy press office said.

With one in three polling stations accounted for, Papandreou’s Pasok party has won 43.53 percent of the vote against 35.62 percent for the ruling New Democracy conservatives, interior ministry figures showed.

The ministry’s official analysts earlier calculated that the socialists could win as many as 162 seats in the 300-member parliament.

The snap election was called two years ahead of schedule by Karamanlis, whose administration was mired in scandal and hamstrung by a one-seat majority in parliament for months.

Karamanlis said a government with a fresh mandate was needed to deal with the effects of the economic crisis with the Greek economy barely hovering above recession.

The victory makes Pasok’s leader the third Papandreou to govern Greece since World War II, after his father Andreas — who founded the party — and his grandfather and namesake George Papandreou, Greece’s first prime minister after the country’s liberation from German occupation in 1944.

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