Despite winning Sunday’s vote, the ruling New Democracy party was still short of winning an absolute majority to rule.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would not form a coalition government after his party won Sunday’s election but was short of securing a majority.
Mitsotakis now hopes for a new election on June 25 after President Katerina Sakellaropoulou formally offered him an opportunity to form a coalition under the constitution.
His party, the centre-right New Democracy (ND), won 40.79 percent of the vote, double that of the left-wing opposition party Syriza at 20.07 percent.
The socialist PASOK party came in third at 11.46 percent, while 61 percent of the population turned up at ballot boxes on Sunday.
Using the proportional representation voting system meant ND only gained 146 seats out of 300, making them five short of a governing majority.
The second round of elections will revert to the previous system that grants the first party an extra 50 seats, ensuring that whoever gains the most votes will have a comfortable majority.
But Mitsotakis’s party performed better than predictions, and its margin of victory was the biggest since 1974 when Greece’s first democratic elections were held after the fall of its seven-year military dictatorship.
Sunday’s election results were also a significant boost for his administration which has had to deal with a wiretapping scandal, the pandemic, a cost of living crisis and a deadly rail crash which triggered protests.
“The dynamics of the result were more than clear: citizens want a strong government, with a four-year term, (to carry out) bolder reforms,” Mitsotakis said after his win, which he said gave his party backing for “autonomous” rule.
Analyst Wolfango Piccoli told the Associated Press that Greek voters prioritised the economy and political stability over everything else.
“ND’s overwhelming performance is largely due to the positive track record on the economic front of the past four years,” the senior political risk analyst at Teneo told AP.
“Syriza’s inability to convey a coherent and credible economic plan also helped PM Mitsotakis and his ND.”
Three of the biggest parties will now receive a three-day mandate to form a coalition government.
If no political parties choose to work together, it will pave the way for the appointment of a caretaker government until the next election is called.
On Monday, PASOK spokesperson Dimitris Mantzos told state broadcaster ERT, “I understand that there is no scope for convergences or collaboration.”
“I think we can proceed to the second elections.”