Syriza’s stronger-than-expected win secured it 145 of 300 parliamentary seats, short of an outright majority but enough to allow the party to govern with only one small coalition partner. “Given the alternatives and the fact that he really hasn’t been given a real shot to actually tackle these problems, the Greek people said let’s go with Tsipras again”, he told Yahoo Finance.
In a televised address Tsipras said European Union members were asking the Syriza government to do what the people of Greece had opposed in choosing them in the January 2015 mandate.
Wearing his trademark open shirt and cheery smile, he said after casting his ballot that voters will elect “a fighting government” ready for the “confrontations necessary to move forward with reforms”. The left-wing party had formed a coalition with the Independent Greeks.
“We have much work ahead and no time to lose”, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote to Tsipras, adding: “We will support the new government in its efforts”.
Syriza received 35.5 percent of the vote, while the New Democracy trailed with 28.1 percent.
Among the challenges facing Mr Tsipras will be satisfying global creditors that Greece is meeting the terms of the latest bailout package worth up to €86bn.
In an indication of Greece’s weariness with five years of economic crisis and political tumult, almost 44 percent of voters sat out the election – the third vote for Greeks this year including a referendum on austerity.
“His first cabinet was marked by Syriza’s big appointments, such as Yanis Varoufakis, which had particularly bad results”.
“Alexis Tsipras now has the chance to correct the mistakes of his (first) term”, center-left newspaper Ta Nea said in an editorial.
“Given the scale of the turmoil he caused in Greece and the dramatic nature of his policy U-turn… his victory at the snap elections today is remarkable”. By doing so, he effectively abandoned his previous pledge to bring the austerity that Greece has endured for years to an end.
Creditors carry out a review in October and there is still some opposition from within Syriza.
The duet will be in the spotlight in coming months as Greece implements the painful austerity and reform commitments under the new bailout and seeks a debt relief.