Conservative politician Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister on Monday after storming to victory on a pledge to create jobs and lure investment to the economically stricken nation.
Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party won an outright majority with 158 seats in the 300-seat legislature. His pledges for more investments, well-paid jobs and fewer taxes won over Greeks worn out by years of EU-prescribed austerity and the euro zone’s highest unemployment.
Today we get started on the hard work. I have absolute confidence in our abilities to rise to the occasion, Mitsotakis said after he was sworn in at a ceremony officiated by Greek Orthodox clergy at the presidential palace in Athens.
He was later welcomed by outgoing premier Alexis Tsipras, a leftist who steered Greece out of bailouts, but was blamed for botching negotiations with international lenders and saddling the nation with more debt after he took over in 2015.
Strong mandate for big changes, conservative Kathimerini newspaper said on its front page.
Another conservative-leaning paper, Ta Nea, said Mitsotakis now had absolute domination, making him an all-powerful prime minister” for the next four years.
On the Athens stock exchange the change of guard was greeted with profit-taking after a strong rally in previous days. The blue chip share index .ATF shed 1.7%, led by bank shares.Leader of New Democracy conservative party and winner of Greek general election Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during a swearing-in ceremony as prime minister at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
It’s mostly a buy the rumour, sell the news’ session. Stocks had a strong run, anticipating the election result. Short-term traders are now closing positions, locking in profits,” said investment adviser Theodore Mouratidis.
On the fixed-income side, government bond yields tumbled to new all-time lows. The yield on 10-year government paper fell by as much as 14 basis points to 2.014%.
Greek sovereign debt is trading at yield levels consistent with an investment-grade rating,” said Markus Allenspach, head of fixed income research at Julius Baer in a note. i.e. the market has priced in a lot of positive development from here.
Greeks hope the new government can make the economy work better after the country emerged from the close surveillance of its international lenders last year. The economy is now growing at a moderate clip, expanding by 1.3 percent on an annual basis in the first quarter.