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Greek prime minister calls general election for May 21

FILE - Greek Prime Ministers Kyriakos Mitsotakis looks on as he waits for the arrival of Cyprus' new President Nikos Christodoulides before their meeting in Athens, on March 13, 2023. Prime Minister Mitsotakis late Tuesday, March 22, said he would hold elections in May ‒ a month later than initially expected ‒ but did not give an exact date. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s center-right Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday called a general election on May 21, in the aftermath of a train disaster that has reduced his party’s long-standing majority in opinion polls.

The Feb. 28 train crash in northern Greece left 57 people dead. The disaster stirred public anger, cutting a lead by the conservative New Democracy party by about half to 4 points over its left-wing main rival, Syriza.

“The country needs clear skies … our work continues more boldly and with fewer compromises,” Mitsotakis said during a televised Cabinet meeting.

Mitsotakis, the 55-year-old son of the late former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, has remained popular throughout his four-year term. But more recently his reputation has been dented by allegations of wiretapping by state security services, as well as the government’s failure to protect rail network safety.

The election is unlikely to produce a new government.

The Associated Press

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