Greek PM Wins New Term Despite Wildfire Fallout

Ruling party only loses 8 seats
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2007 4:51 AM CDT
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis waves to the supporters of New Democracy as his wife looks on late Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007. Official results with nearly 40 percent of votes counted show governing...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis won a second four-year term and his conservative New Democratic Party retained its parliamentary majority, according to early results from yesterday's elections. The wildfires that recently ravaged southeastern Greece threatened to topple Karamanlis and his party, but they wound up losing only 8 seats in the 300-member parliament.

The Socialists also lost seats, while Communists made gains and a nationalist party may enter parliament for the first time. A third of voters said the fires influenced their decision. Karamanlis is interpreting his party's narrow, 156-seat, majority as a mandate to push through reforms, most pressingly, drastic changes to pension programs that would otherwise consumes 25% of the GDP by 2050.