Greek conservative leader concedes defeat to leftist Syriza rival

Conservative New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis concedes defeat on Sunday in Greece’s national election to his leftist rival, Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras.

ATHENS, GREECE (SEPTEMBER 20, 2015) (REUTERS) – Greek voters returned Alexis Tsipras to power with a strong election victory on Sunday (September 20), ensuring the charismatic leftist remains Greece’s dominant political figure despite caving in to European demands for a bailout he once opposed.

Tsipras’ Syriza party has won 35.54 percent of the vote in Sunday’s Greek national election based on 50 percent of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said on its website.

Conservative New Democracy is on 28.07 percent, the ministry said.

That share would give Syriza 145 seats in the 300-seat parliament and New Democracy 75.

Based on the same vote count, the turnout was 55.4 percent. Turnout in the January election won by Tsipras was 63.6 percent.

Tsipras smiled and shook hands with supporters who had gathered outside Syriza Party headquarters to cheer their leader, to whom weary Greek voters have given a second mandate to pull the country out of economic crisis despite caving in to European demands for austerity.

Outside New Democracy’s Athens headquarters, its leader conceded defeat.

“The electoral result appears to be concluding with Syriza and Mr. Tspiras in the lead. I congratulate him and urge him to create the government which is needed and come to parliament. Everything else we’ll discuss in due time,” New Democracy’s leader Vangelis Meimarakis said to reporters.

Third place in the election looked set to go again to Golden Dawn, a far right party with a swastika-like symbol, with around 7 percent of the vote.