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Greeks vote on Sunday for the second time in less than two months in a general election likely to bring back a centre-right government led by former prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

In the week ahead of the election, Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party led the polls at more than 40 per cent, followed by the leftwing Syriza party on close to 20, according to a GPO survey.

“The only question in these elections is the extent of Mitsotakis’s win,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at Eurasia Group. “Whether it’s going to be a comfortable majority for New Democracy or a landslide victory.”

In May’s elections New Democracy came in first but fell short of an outright majority. Mitsotakis then resigned and called for new elections, knowing that they would be held under a new electoral law that gives bonus seats to the leading party and could be enough for him to form a majority government.

Markets have reacted positively to the prospect of another pro-business New Democracy government, with stocks and bonds rallying in the past weeks. The country’s rating is expected to be upgraded to investment grade by the end of the year, a sign that Greece has put the decade-long economic crisis well behind it.

“Mitsotakis is now in absolute control of his party,” said Rahman. His previous tenure was marred by problems such as Covid, the spike in energy prices linked to the war in Ukraine and high inflation.

Mitsotakis was also embroiled in scandals including the wiretapping of journalists and political opponents and the handling of a deadly train crash, factors that lead to the slowing down of a series of reforms. The boat that capsized off the Greek coast with hundreds of migrants onboard cast the tough stance he took on migration while in office in a negative light, even though he was no longer in charge when the accident happened.

However voters still back the centre-right leader ahead of former far-left premier Alexis Tsipras, who has been unable to stage a comeback. In the last election, Tsipras’s opposition Syriza party lost one-third of its votes. Pasok, Greece’s centre-left party, is expected to remain in third place without increasing its numbers significantly, according to polls.

“The opposition was unable to close the gap with New Democracy,” said Dimitris Papadimitriou, professor of political science at the UK’s University of Manchester. “This creates a window for ND to dominate the political landscape for the foreseeable future,” he added, as the opposition is expected to be in disarray in the next years.”

A weak opposition will also give Mitsotakis the opportunity to undertake a series of reforms. “This time around, he has no excuse to stall substantive and far-reaching reforms, such as to the judiciary,” said Rahman.

During his campaign Mitsotakis repeatedly promised to reform the healthcare and justice systems, which are among the slowest Europe. “It wont be easy,” said Papadimitriou. “He will come across the most powerful lobbies in Greece and a super resilient bureaucracy to do so.”

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