Greece’s Alexis Tsipras has said his left-wing Syriza party has a “clear mandate” after winning the country’s fifth election in six years. “We won’t recover from the struggle by magic, but it can happen with hard work”, he added.
The conservative New Democracy is on 28.07% – which prompted its leader Vangelis Meimarakis to concede defeat.
In a sign of widespread discontent, however, more than four in 10 Greeks stayed away from the poll, and 7 percent of votes went to the third-place Golden Dawn, a party founded as a neo-Nazi movement in the 1980s.
An outright victory by Syriza was always considered unlikely because the party, led by Alexis Tsipras, 41, alienated some voters and members of his own party by essentially doing the opposite of what he promised to do in the January election. Tsipras hoped the snap polls would help shore up support for Syriza going into the implementation of new financial reforms demanded by Greece’s creditors for the country’s third bailout since 2012.
So in total it was very much a status quo election, with Greek voters largely sticking with the positions they held in January.
“I called him (Tsipras) a second time to ask him why he was continuing a coalition with this odd , far-right party”, Schulz said.
“We now have to do our homework so that Greece becomes a well ordered state, to fight corruption and vested interests”, Kretsos, who is also the Greek government’s general secretary of communications, said in a telephone interview.
Sunday’s result, with Syriza able to form a government with the Independent Greeks and without need to recourse to more euro-friendly centrist parties is one “that Tsipras will likely feel somewhat emboldened by”, said Malcolm Barr of J.P. Morgan. “They are the only ones capable of a fearless struggle”.
“I am optimistic”, a smiling Tsipras said, clad in his trademark open-necked white shirt as he cast his ballot in his parliamentary district in Athens.
Tsipras stormed back into office with an unexpectedly decisive election victory on Sunday, claiming a clear mandate to steer Greece’s battered economy to recovery.
But the party reluctantly approved the latest $96 billion euro deal despite a referendum vote against it – a move seen by many Greeks as a sellout.
Although the opposition New Democracy party has pledged to stick to the bailout, its leader, the plain-speaking Evangelos Meimarakis, has repeatedly blasted Tsipras as incompetent and called him a “little liar”.
At Syriza Party headquarters, Mr Tsipras, 41, was greeted with a huge round of applause by supporters.
Over 9.8 million Greeks were registered to vote for a new government which will face the tough task in the next weeks of pushing through the belt-tightening reforms agreed under the three-year bailout accord adopted by parliament last month.