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Greece’s new Parliament sworn in

ATHENS, GREECE (AP) – Greece’s new lawmakers were sworn in yesterday just over a week after a general election that saw a number of smaller fringe parties from the right and left of the political spectrum enter Parliament for the first time.

The 300 Members of Parliament were inducted during a religious ceremony after the June 25 elections returned conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to power for a second four-year term in a landslide victory, crushing the left-wing opposition Syriza party and prompting opposition leader Alexis Tsipras to announce his resignation.

Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party now holds a comfortable parliamentary majority, with 158 seats compared to Syriza’s 48.

Three far-right parties and one representing the far left reached the three per cent minimum threshold for parliamentary seats. Only one of them has been in Parliament before. On the right of the political spectrum, two newly-appearing parties are the Spartans and the ultra-religious Niki party.

The Spartans, who won 4.7 per cent in the election and hold 12 parliamentary seats, are led by Vassilis Stigas and backed by jailed Ilias Kasidiaris, a former prominent member of the now-outlawed Golden Dawn party that had extremists origins and connections to multiple violent attacks targeting migrants and left-wing political activists.

Tougher regulations were introduced on election eligibility to block Kasidiaris from running as a candidate from inside prison. A party he had founded from behind bars was disqualified, and he switched his support to the Spartans.

Niki, or Victory, with just under 3.7 per cent of the vote, holds 10 seats and is led by 58-year-old primary school teacher and theologian Dimitrios Natsios.

PHOTO: AP
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