Alexis Tsipras will be sworn in as Greece’s prime minister later on Monday and his new government formally announced on Tuesday, Greek media said, after the leftist Syriza leader romped to an unexpectedly convincing election victory. The result on Sunday was a personal triumph for the 41-year-old, who gambled on the snap poll last month to see off a revolt by party radicals over his U-turn on accepting more tough austerity measures in exchange for Greece’s third international bailout. The premier-elect will now make renegotiating the terms of Greece’s debt mountain a top priority. He will attempt to build a broad consensus among the parties he defeated so as to strengthen his hand in talks with the country’s eurozone creditors, a senior Syriza source told Reuters. “We will continue negotiations in the coming period, with the debt issue being the first and most important battle,” the source said. “We will ask all political forces to support our efforts.”
Former prime minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday brushed off election polls suggesting his leftist Syriza party might lose to its conservative rival in Greece’s election, saying he had a large group of supporters not reflected by pollsters. He was speaking on the last day of formal campaigning for Sunday’s general election with polls showing a cliffhanger vote expected and some pointing to a win by the conservative New Democracy party. Neither party, however, is expected to get the proportion of the vote needed – roughly 38 percent – to gain a majority in the 300-seat parliament, meaning a coalition is a near certainty. “There is a voting body that is below the radar, it is not being traced,” Tsipras, who was to stage a final rally later in the day, told Greece’s ANT 1 television.
Vassiliki Thanou, Greece’s top supreme court judge, was sworn in Thursday as a caretaker head of the government, becoming the country’s first female prime minister. Yesterday, the country’s far-left leader also formally gave up a bid to form a coalition government, thereby allowing the President to finally set a date for early elections, after a week of political wrangling. Greece’s prime minister on Wednesday raised the political stakes forward of subsequent month’s early nationwide election, saying he won’t enter a coalition with the primary center-right and centrist opposition events even when he wants their backing to control. She will hold the position until a new government emerges from the vote expected on September 20.
Called to the ballot box for the third time in eight months, some Greeks are responding to election fatigue with a bailout-sized dose of Internet humour. In one hit post on the news site Protagon, comedienne Lila Stabouloglou suggested “electoral tourism” could prove a handy money-spinner for Greece’s cash-strapped authorities in the run-up to the vote in three weeks’ time. “The Greek Tourism Organisation is enthusiastically preparing to promote the idea of electoral tourism ahead of the vote on September 20,” she wrote in the mock news report. Her post was topped with a fake campaign poster, showing a ballot box floating alongside two boats in beautiful turquoise waters. “Live Your Elections in Greece”, it said — a riff on a well-known old tourism campaign, “Live Your Myth in Greece”.
Seven months after he was elected on a promise to overturn austerity, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has announced he is stepping down to pave the way for snap elections next month. As the debt-crippled country received the first tranche of a punishing new €86bn (£61bn) bailout, Tsipras said on Thursday he felt “a moral obligation to place this deal in front of the people, to allow them to judge … both what I have achieved, and my mistakes”. The 41-year-old Greek leader is still popular with voters for having at least tried to stand up to the country’s creditors and his leftwing Syriza party is likely to be returned to power in the imminent general election, which government officials told Greek media was most likely to take place on 20 September. The prime minister insisted in an address on public television that he was proud of his time in office and had got “a good deal for the country”, despite bringing it “close to the edge”. He added he was “shortly going to submit my resignation, and the resignation of my government, to the president”. The prime minister will be replaced for the duration of the short campaign by the president of Greece’s supreme court, Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou – a vocal bailout opponent – as head of a caretaker government.
Early elections in Greece are “imperative” to maintain the country’s political stability as it begins to implement an unpopular third debt bailout, a minister said Monday. “Elections are imperative for purposes of political stability. Given the problems in the government’s (parliamentary) majority, the situation can be called anything but stable,” Energy Minister Panos Skourletis told Skai TV. A third of MPs from the ruling radical left party Syriza last week rebelled against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a vote on the three-year, 86-billion-euro ($96-billion) package, forcing him to rely on opposition parties to ratify it. “Such a major numeric loss of parliamentary majority is unprecedented,” said Skourletis, a former spokesman for Tsipras.
Greeks began voting in a referendum on Sunday that presents the biggest challenge to the running of the euro since its adoption and risks sending shock waves through the world’s financial markets. The nationwide ballot was taking place at the end of a week of unending drama that saw Greece close its banks, ration cash, fail to repay the IMF and lose billions of euros when its bailout programme expired. The vote is on the last terms offered to Greece before its prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, abandoned talks with his country’s lenders last weekend, saying their conditions would only exacerbate the plight of a country whose economy has already shrunk by a quarter. At a rally in the centre of Athens on Friday night, Tsipras urged his compatriots to cast a no ballot, assuring them it would not be a vote for leaving the euro, but for remaining in Europe “with dignity”. Greece’s creditors and most of the opposition parties have claimed that, on the contrary, it could lead to exit from the single market (“Grexit”) and even the European Union.
magine the fate of your country hangs on a yes-or-no question. The question is drafted in cryptic, bureaucratic language and asks you to decide on an economic program that no longer exists. Leaders in neighboring countries are begging you to vote yes. Your government is begging you to vote no. Now you can understand what it feels like to live in Greece, land of debt, sunshine and, these days, profound political weirdness. The country is approaching one of the most important votes in its modern history on Sunday, one that could redefine its place in Europe, yet many people acknowledge they barely have a clue as to what, exactly, they are voting on. “No one is really telling us what it means,” said Erika Papamichalopoulou, 27, a resident of Athens. “No one is saying what will happen to us if we say yes, or what will happen to us if we say no.” Greece is deep into unknown territory. Its banks have been shut down. It missed a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund, and without new financial aid, it is likely to default on other debts this month.
In Greece’s July 5 referendum, as currently planned, voters will be asked to vote “no” or “yes” on a convoluted question about the country’s creditors’ conditions for further bailout aid. How voters make sense of the ballot question could be decisive in determining the outcome. The referendum campaign so far is largely a contest to define the meaning of the question. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his leftwing Syriza party are seeking to convince Greeks that a “no” to creditors’ proposals would safeguard national dignity and strengthen Athens’s bargaining position for the next round of negotiations, without triggering an exit from the euro.
As Friday night became Saturday morning, with sidewalk cafes still bustling in central Athens, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras abruptly appeared on national television. Mr. Tsipras, only 40, had spent his five months in office locked in increasingly acrimonious negotiations with Greece’s creditors. Belittled by critics, and facing the prospect of default, he was under intense pressure to sign a deal. Instead, Mr. Tsipras tossed a grenade. With much of Europe sound asleep, Mr. Tsipras stared into the camera and shattered the careful decorum of European Union diplomacy. Declaring that creditors were demanding “strict and humiliating austerity,” Mr. Tsipras announced a national referendum on July 5, so voters could decide for themselves.
“You must vote Yes, independently of the question asked”, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told the Greek people on Monday (29 June). It sounds like a wild statement. But in fact, Greek voters will indeed not know precisely what they are voting on in the referendum on Sunday. Shortly after Juncker spoke on Monday the…
Alexis Tsipras, sworn into office as Greece’s new prime minister a day after his radical leftist Syriza party won a resounding election victory, swiftly forged a coalition government with the aim of shedding European-imposed austerity policies. Syriza has little in common with its coalition partner—the small, right-wing Independent Greeks party—other than a fierce opposition to the austerity measures Greece embarked on in exchange for bailouts from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund. Still, the common bond on that front signals tough negotiations with Greece’s creditors over its debt repayments in the months ahead. Together, Syriza and Independent Greeks will jointly control 162 seats in Greece’s 300-seat legislature. The Independent Greeks are also expected to hold at least one cabinet position in the new government, the details of which are likely to be unveiled on Tuesday.
Greece on Sunday appeared to reject the punishing economics of austerity and send a warning signal to the rest of Europe as exit polls showed the left-wing Syriza party with a strong lead in national elections, leaving the party’s tough-talking leader, Alexis Tsipras, likely to become the next prime minister. Exit polls, released on national television after voting stations closed at 7 p.m., showed Syriza running well ahead of the governing center-right New Democracy Party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and in a good position to win a plurality in the multiparty race. It remained unclear whether Syriza would be able to win an outright parliamentary majority, or if it would have to form a coalition with one or more of the trailing parties. Syriza’s likely victory would represent a dramatic milestone for Europe at a time when continuing economic weakness has stirred an angry, populist backlash from France to Spain to Italy, as more voters grow fed up with policies that demand sacrifice to address the discipline of financial markets without delivering more jobs and prosperity. Syriza would become the first anti-austerity party to take power in a eurozone country, and would shatter the two-party political establishment that has dominated Greece for four decades.