The world’s focus is on Greece this weekend as Greeks go to the polls on July 7 for national elections.
The early, snap elections were called by prime minister Alexis Tsipras after his Syriza party fared dismally in local and European elections a few weeks ago, losing by upwards pf 10 [ercentage points to the center-right New Democracy party.
Most polls indicate that an establishment politician named Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the centre-right New Democracy party will come out on top.
If those projections hold and Greeks end up choosing the 51-year-old Mitsotakis on Sunday, voters won’t just be voting for a fresh face, they’ll be ushering in a return to establishment politics.
Unlike Tsipras, who rose to power on a wave of anti-establishment sentiment and anger towards the EU, Mitsotakis represents Greek political aristocracy. His father Konstantinos was Prime Minister between 1990 and 1993.
“I think society realized that electing populists into power is not a solution to underlying economic problems. So essentially what is happening is the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction,” he told VICE founder Shane Smith during an interview at the New Democracy party headquarters in Athens.
He’s not shy about his establishment credentials either. One of Mitsotakis’s main campaign planks is convincing Greek’s that his financial stewardship can spur renewed confidence in the Greek economy, and lead the lenders who bailed out its economy to the tune of 240 billion euros over eight years to ease their strict requirement that Greece maintain a budget surplus of 3.5 percent.
“The key challenge is to restore high growth rates,” Mitsotakis said. “If the economy grows faster, our creditors are going to be happy because the debt is going to be repaid more easily.”
And to get the economy growing at a faster rate Mitsotakis is appealing to young Greek who left the country during the financial crisis to return.