Conservative Greek politician Kyriakos Mitsotakis took office as Greek’s new prime minister Monday after winning a landslide victory over leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in parliamentary elections.
After being sworn in Monday at the presidential palace in Athens in a ceremony officiated by Greek Orthodox clergy, Mitsotakis said "today we get started on the hard work. I have absolute confidence in our abilities to rise to the occasion."
He, along with his wife and three children, were welcomed to the presidential mansion by outgoing Prime Minister Tsipras, who during his four years in office imposed austerity measures required under a bailout to keep Greece in the eurozone.
In his first order of business, Mitsotakis announced the members of his cabinet, which included economist Christos Staikouras as the finance minister.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Monday congratulated Mitsotakis on his victory, but also cautioned that Greece, which has high debt, still has tough economic conditions to navigate.
“A lot has been achieved,'' Juncker said. “But a lot remains to be done.''
Mitsotakis' New Democracy party won 39.8% of the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary election while Tsipras' Syriza party had 31.5%.
On Sunday, Tsipras, 44, conceded defeat and called Mitsotakis, 51, to congratulate him on his victory.
“I asked for a strong mandate to change Greece. You offered it generously,” Mitsotakis said in his victory speech. “From today, a difficult but beautiful fight begins. ... Greeks deserve better and the time has come for us to prove it,” he said.
Mitsotakis, a graduate of Harvard in the U.S., will have a 158-seat majority in the 300-member Greek parliament.
He is the son of a former prime minister, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, brother of a former foreign minister, Theodora "Dora" Bakoyanni, and uncle to a newly elected mayor of Athens.
Mitsotakis has pledged to create "better" jobs through foreign investment, tax cuts and removing obstacles for businesses.
Tsipras had called the election three months earlier than scheduled after his Syriza party suffered a severe defeat in European Union and local elections in May and early June.
Greece is just beginning to recover from a massive financial crisis that included soaring unemployment and steep poverty levels. The country was forced to accept billions of dollars in financial bailouts from the International Monetary Fund, other eurozone countries and the European Central Bank that required deep spending cuts and other reforms.