Drama in Athens

Landslide Victory for Anti-Austerity Forces

Source: Handelsblatt
Excitement in Greece after Sunday's elections.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Greece’s new government carries out its promise to end austerity in Greece, the country could default on its debts and ultimately leave the euro zone.

  • Facts


    • Syriza has won 149 out of 300 seats in the Greek parliament.
    • It came 2 seats short of an absolute majority.
    • It is to form a coalition with a right-wing, euro-skeptic Independent Greeks party.
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What many in Berlin and Brussels long feared has come to pass.

In the end, Europe’s austerity measures went too far.

Alexis Tsipras, the 40-year-old former communist, was celebrating on Monday after his anti-austerity party Syriza won an overwhelming victory in the Greek elections over the weekend.

“Today the Greek people have made history. Hope has made history,” Mr. Tsipras told supporters in a victory speech on Sunday night, and vowed to end their pain. Whether he actually can remains to be seen.

Syriza, the radical left alliance made up of an array of parties and groups, had confounded even the most optimistic of expectations, by coming within a hair’s breadth of an absolute majority.

Results show Syriza won 36.3 percent of the vote, compared to 27.8 percent for the ruling center-right New Democracy Party. Golden Dawn, a far-right party that had once appeared to pose the biggest threat to Greece’s mainstream parties, came in third with 6.3 percent of the vote.

Syriza fell just two seats short of an absolute parliamentary majority, winning 149 out of 300 seats in the Greek parliament. Monday morning, Syriza said it would form a coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, which won 13 seats.

That party’s leader, Panos Kammenos said Monday that he would enter a coalition with Mr. Tsipras.

Coming out of Syrizia headquarters on Monday morning, Mr. Kammenos said: “I want to say, simply, that from this moment, there is a government. The Independent Greeks will give a vote of confidence to the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.”

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