Tsipras, who’d resigned as prime minister a month ago, asked voters for a second chance, and against all odds, he got it.
“In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity, and this struggle will be continued together for another four years”.
Following an election campaign that polls predicted was too close to call, Syriza won over 35% of the total vote against 28.1% for the centre-right opposition, New Democracy, giving Tsipras’ party 145 seats in the 300-seat parliament.
Despite convulsive developments in Greece this year, Syriza’s margin of victory over its nearest rival was nearly exactly the same as it was the last time the country voted.
However Syriza’s alliance with Independent party with just about 10 seats makes the coalition weak, however it is more likely that Mr. Tsipras will be able to finish his four year term.
In the last parliament, the same coalition initially commanded the support of 162 MPs before about a quarter of Syriza MPs began rebelling against Mr Tsipras’s decision to sign up to a third bailout for the country, which precipitated the calling of yesterday’s snap election.
Under those circumstances, Sunday’s results were a genuine triumph for Tsipras, said Nick Malkoutzis, editor of the political analysis website Macropolis.
“Many of the biggest challenges facing the European Union as a whole are the same as those facing Greece as a country, such as the refugee crisis and the creation of sustainable growth and jobs”, he said, adding he expected the new government in Athens “to contribute constructively” to rising to those challenges. Some of those demands were already legislated before Tsipras’ resignation in August that triggered the early vote.
“We will soften certain elements of the agreement, without breaking our (bailout) commitments”, Dimitris Mardas, deputy finance minister in Tsipras’ first government, said Monday. “I voted, but with a heavy heart”, said 29-year old Athens-based researcher Despina Biri. “So we know that there is nothing good for the Greek people to wait for”.
So now, the hard work starts – the new PM must now implement the measures agreed with Greece’s creditors, from labour market reform to bank recapitalisation.
Despite the static results, Malkoutzis said, Tsipras must contend with an electorate that is clearly disenchanted.