Four Turkish-Greek lawmakers in new parliament

Four Turkish-Greek lawmakers in new parliament

Four Turkish-Greek lawmakers in new parliament

DHA photo

A record number of four Turkish-Greek lawmakers returned to the Greek parliament in Greece’s early Sept. 20 election,  up from three in the previous election, according to the official results. 

Three MPs -Ayhan Karayusuf, Mustafa Mustafa and Hüseyin Zeybek- represent Syriza, the leftist party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that won more than 35 percent of the votes. Syriza was the first-placed party in Rhodope, Western Thrace, where a significant Turkish community resides. 

İlhan Ahmet, of the centrist To Potami party, was elected in Xanthi, Western Thrace. Ahmet was elected as an MP back in 2004, serving for one term. 

This is the first time four Turkish-Greek MPs find place in Greek parliament. 

Greek left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was naming his new cabinet Sept 22, two days after winning a national election despite his abrupt U-turn on the country’s international bailout. Both interim finance minister Giorgos Houliarakis and his predecessor Euclid Tsakalotos were expected to be offered portfolios, as will the interim migration minister, Ioannis Mouzalas, according to state ERT TV.

Several positions are reserved for members of Tsipras’ junior coalition partner, the right-wing populist Independent Greeks.

Tsipras, 41, was sworn in Sept. 21 for his second turn at the job after beating the main opposition conservative party.

He has pledged to implement austerity measures demanded by international creditors in exchange for a third bailout, but says he will try to soften the pain. Greece has depended on international bailout loans since 2010.

Conservative leader may resign

The leader of Greece’s conservatives signaled Sept. 22 he would step down as the party seeks to recover from the shock of a heavy election defeat that pollsters failed to predict. 

New Democracy said it would hold a leadership election as soon as possible after losing to the leftist Syriza party.  Vangelis Meimarakis, who shepherded the party through Sunday’s ballot, said he was unlikely to stand. Though opinion polls had shown the race neck-and-neck, New Democracy ended up losing by seven percentage points. 

Meimarakis took over in July after former prime minister Antonis Samaras quit the party leadership in response to a strong ‘No’ vote in a referendum on whether Greece should accept the terms of what became its third international bailout.  Commentators generally agreed that Meimarakis matched Tsipras in two high-profile televised debates.