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The right won elections, but without a clear majority

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ATHENS (AP) – Greece will hold new general elections after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ center-right New Democracy party won a narrow victory last Sunday but lost a majority of seats in parliament.

A divided government agreement was mathematically out of reach on Tuesday when the main opposition party formally received – and promptly declined – an invitation to try to form the new government.

Mitsotakis rejected the attempt to form a coalition and opted for a second election, scheduled for June 25. This would change the electoral system which would probably give you a direct victory because it favors the winning party.

Mitsotakis, 55, won more than 40% of the vote on Sunday and was 20 points ahead of his main opponent. He pledged to continue pro-business reforms, a crackdown on unauthorized immigration and heavy defense spending as Greece recovers from a decade-long financial crisis.

Under the Greek constitution, the top three parties have three days to try to form a government before parliament is dissolved and a new election is called.

Former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the left-wing Syriza Party, which suffered a major victory on Sunday, had to reject the mandate to form a government when President Katerina Sakellaropoulou received it on Sunday.

“I have no reason to hide that the election result is a painful blow for us,” Tsipras told reporters after the meeting. “Painful and unexpected.”

The 48-year-old opposition leader is being challenged by the centrist third party Pasok, which has long dominated Greek politics but whose support has eroded amid the financial crisis and a series of painful international rescues.

Under official results announced on Tuesday, New Democracy won 146 seats in the parliament of 300, five short of a clear majority. Syriza got 71, Pasok 41, the Communist Party 26 and the nationalist Hellenic Solution 16.

Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis will formally receive the third and final invitation to try to form a government in the coming hours. But he cannot present a viable proposal without the support of the first or second party, which is out of the question.

Elections were held on Sunday under a proportional representation system which was implemented for the first time in over thirty years. In the next election, the previous system will return, which gives the winning party a so-called electoral bonus of up to 50 seats.

The date of the next election will depend on a number of procedural matters, the most important of which are the meeting and dissolution of the elected parliament.

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