On 9 April the Greeks went to the polls to elect their first government of the 21st century. There was a long night of suspense during which the two main political parties, the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the Right Wing Party of New Democracy repeatedly swapped the lead. Eventually PASOK won its third popular mandate with 43.79 percent of the popular vote against 42.74 percent for New Democracy.
The close electoral race won’t affect the modernisation of the country’s economy and foreign policy that began in 1996 under the previous PASOK government of Prime Minister Kostantinos Simitis. Most New Democracy members and its new leader Konstantinos Karamanlis accept the modernising message. They may criticise the way PASOK implements the programme, but not its essence.