Greek Politics

Tsipras' Journey to the Middle

Tsipras trotting AP
Alexis Tsipras has been on a hell of a ride, but his hardest test might yet be to come.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Political instability in Greece could undermine the current talks with creditors over the much-needed bailout.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Greece is in talks with creditors on a three-year bailout deal worth €86 billion.
    • Syriza came to power in January pledging to end austerity.
    • The party is on the verge of a split, with hard left rebels calling for a Grexit rather than a third bailout in five years.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Young, enthusiastic and undoubtedly charismatic, it is hard to pin down Alexis Tsipras.

Is he a great political talent, or a shambolic gambler? A genuine, honest man of the people, or an untrustworthy interlocutor and ultimately traitor to the cause? The worst thing that could have happened to Greece, or its only hope going forward?

There are clearly many sides to Mr. Tsipras, the former communist who took the helm of Greece in January and almost lead it over the precipice and into a Grexit before turning back at the last minute and making a deal with the country’s lenders.

The Greek prime minister has had a grueling first six months in office. After pushing the country’s creditors to their limits, he ended up capitulating completely to their demands on July 13 at the fraught E.U. summit in order to secure a three-year bailout worth €86 billion.

Yet, rather than go home to Greece with his tail between his legs, he has been greeted by many of his compatriots as a returning warrior, bruised and bloodied, but surviving to fight another day, just like Greece.

Now he faces two huge tasks. He needs to conclude a final bailout deal with his creditors, who have descended upon Athens this week for talks, in order to access the loans the country desperately needs. And he has to control his rebellious radical-left Syriza party, either by crushing or getting rid of the dissenters so he can go forward with the implementation of the bailout conditions.

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