Greek PM hints at cabinet reshuffle after EU vote disappointment

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hinted at a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, saying “corrective measures” were required after his centre-right party performed less well than expected in the European Parliament election.

His New Democracy party, which has led Greece since 2019, came first in Sunday’s EU election with 28.3% of the vote but missed a 33% target Mitsotakis had set during his pre-election campaign. It was also well below the 40% his party received in last year’s national election.

“We have three years ahead of us,” he said in an interview with Alpha television broadcast on Tuesday, ruling out a snap national election.

“It is my duty to … move ahead with all those corrective moves which will show people that we have taken their message into account,” he said.

Mitsotakis said his ministers would be evaluated in due course but stopped short of announcing a reshuffle.

Mitsotakis attributed what he called Sunday’s “protest” vote to the high cost of living, promising that his government would try harder within Greece’s budget limits to combat spiralling prices of food products, though he ruled out a sales tax cut.

Despite its economic recovery after a decade of pain, wages in Greece still lag behind the EU average.

A record 59% of registered voters abstained in the EU vote.

“I understand why some citizens decided through their vote or their silence… because abstention is also a political stance, to send us this message,” he said.

Legislation allowing same-sex marriage, a landmark reform approved this year, has also hurt New Democracy’s ratings, as it drove away some traditional voters, Mitsotakis said, adding that he had no plans to reverse the law as he believed in equality.

“Such an election outcome might be liberating too. We will proceed with big changes,” Mitsotakis said, without elaborating.

(This story has been corrected to fix a typo in paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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