Greece’s Alexis Tsipras has said his left-wing Syriza party has a “clear mandate” after winning a second general election in less than nine months. His Syriza party will form a coalition government of 155 seats with its old partner, the Independent Greeks which came in with 3.6 percent of the votes.
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. The Syriza Party would be getting around 145 seats out of the 300 member parliament which falls short of the majority and is expected to form a coalition Government with the Independent Greek Party which is likely to get 10 seats in proportion to votes polled in their favour. An overwhelming majority of Greeks voted against the deal in a referendum, set up by Tsipras and his party in July in an attempt to strengthen his hand in negotiations with creditors. As expected, voter turnout was low.
“He is young. We had been voting for the others for 40 years”, said Athens resident Eva Vasilopoulou, who attended the victory rally.
Meanwhile Tsipras addressed Greeks before a victory rally in Klafomonos Square reassuring his voters that the country “is on firm ground”.
Centre-left daily newspaper Ethnos on Monday tipped Euclid Tsakalotos, the former finance minister who brokered terms of the bailout accord in August, to be re-appointed.
But easing Greece’s debt burden is just one of many items on a dauntingly long “to do” list ranging from how to revive a crippled economy while implementing austerity polices to dealing with the wave of migrants landing on Greek shores.
Tsipras has made no secret of the fact he disagrees with the bailout.
Putin congratulated the Greek leader in a telegram and “expressed hope for the continuation of constructive dialogue and active shared work for the future strengthening of mutually beneficial Russian-Greek cooperation”, the Kremlin said in a statement.
“We now have a big opportunity, with stability and within a four-year (term), to implement our basic commitment, which is to give the honorable fight – and bleed if needed – in order for our people to stop bleeding”.
“We continue to think that… the (bailout) programme will make enough progress to allow a restructuring of loans from euro area countries by the end of the first quarter of 2016”, he wrote in a note.