Millennium Post

Greek leftist leader Tsipras promises brave new era

Greek leftist leader Tsipras promises brave new era
Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras promised on Sunday that five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed by international creditors were over after his Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election on Sunday.

With over 99 percent of the vote counted, Syriza had 149 seats in the 300-seat parliament, taking 36.3 percent of the vote, 8.5 points ahead of the conservative New Democracy party of Prime
Minister Antonis Samaras.

Tsipras is expected to hold coalition talks on Monday with the small Independent Greeks party which, like Syriza, opposes Greece’s bailout deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

While Tsipras fell just short of an overall majority, he is set to lead the first euro zone government committed to overturning the kind of budgetary rigour that was imposed on Greece as a condition of the bailout in 2010. “Greece leaves behind catastrophic austerity, it leaves behind fear and authoritarianism, it leaves behind five years of humiliation and suffering,” Tsipras told thousands of cheering supporters gathered in Athens.

Syriza’s victory marks a flat rejection of the model for troubled euro zone economies championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is also likely to strengthen calls for the euro zone to move
towards policies which promote economic growth, rather that tackling budget deficits.

Syriza’s campaign slogan “Hope is coming!” resonated with voters worn down by huge budget cuts
and heavy tax rises during the years of crisis that have sent unemployment over 25 percent and pushed millions into poverty. “We hope our expectations will be fulfilled,” said 47-year-old teacher Efi Avgoustakou. “On Monday in class, we’re not allowed to comment and take sides but we will be smiling.” Financial markets reacted nervously to the victory of Tspiras, who has promised to renegotiate Greece’s debt agreements, fearing potential conflict with other euro zone governments that could put more strain on the currency bloc.

The euro slid to near an 11-year low and US stock futures fell as Asian markets opened on Monday.  Germany has insisted Greece must respect the terms of its 240 billion euro bailout deal, which saved the country from bankruptcy but at the cost of bitter sacrifices by the Greek people.


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