ATHENS –– A month after he resigned from his post as prime minister, a jubilant Alexis Tsipras declared victory in Greece’s snap elections yesterday.
Speaking to a crowd of cheering supporters in Athens, Tsipras said his Syriza party had been given a “clear mandate” at the polls.
“This result does not belong to Syriza. This result belongs to the working classes of this country, the people who fight for a better tomorrow, who dream of a better tomorrow,” Tsipras said, “and this is something that we will achieve through a lot of hard work”.
With more than 50 per cent of votes counted, Syriza was emerging as a clear winner with 35.5 per cent of the vote, according to preliminary elections results released by the Greek Ministry of the Interior. That would give Syriza 145 of the Greek Parliament’s 300 seats.
Panos Kammenos, the leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks Party, told reporters his party, which won 3.7 per cent of the vote, would ally itself with Syriza to form a coalition. Together, they would have enough seats to secure a majority in Parliament.
Unless a new government gets to work quickly, Greece risks being unable to get more money from Europe. That would leave it unable to pay 3.2 billion euros (BDS$7.6 billion) it owes to the International Monetary Fund later this year.
“Greece is not sustainable and the big issues are how far the programme will go off-track and how many eurozone members will join Germany in viewing missed targets as no longer a price worth paying,” said Gabriel Sterne, the head of global macro research at Oxford Economics.
The rescue agreed to in July with Europe –– worth up to 86 billion euros (BDS$194 billion) –– prevented financial collapse and kept Greece in the euro.
Before the vote tally was announced, one thing was clear: the economically frail country doesn’t have time for a fresh round of political uncertainty.
Athens needs a government to tackle its struggling economy, keep the bailout on track and try to deal with
the challenge of thousands of migrants arriving on its shores.