As the results from the Greek elections began to come through it became clear that Europe's biggest fear was fast becoming a reality. With most of the votes counted, Syriza showed a clear lead polling at 36%, while the outgoing New Democracy won 28%. Syriza looks set to occupy 149 seats, just two short of an absolute majority. Outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras admitted defeat and congratulated his opponent on his victory. Late Sunday night, Alexis Tsipras took to the streets in Athens to celebrate his party's remarkable victory and gave a speech promising new life and change for Greece and its people. He ended it by proclaiming that "the troika, for Greece, is a thing of the past."
Syriza has joined hands with the right-wing party Greek Independents to form a governing coalition and ensure a comfortable majority in Greece's new parliament. Tsipras and his party have big plans for the country. The anti-austerity party leader has vowed to end Greece's "five years of humiliation and pain" following his victory. He pledged, before a massive crowd of cheering supporters, to renegotiate Greece's massive international bailout. He delivered his speech on Klafthmonos Square where supporters gathered and cheered in a way the country has not seen for years. Flags were flying high, as were banners protesting Europe's economic measures and in particular Germany and Angela Merkel. The victory is an historic one for the radical left, one which is probably even beyond the party's own expectations.
The party was formed in 2004 as an umbrella group, and the party name, Syriza, is an acronym meaning the "Radical Coalition of the Left". It first came to the forefront of Greek politics back in 2008 during the riots that devastated the country, but only now has it taken on any sort of power. The promises made to put an end to the austerity measures suffered by the country and to renegotiate Greece's debt led to hope spreading rapidly and now an election victory. However, Syriza's promises have certainly been diluted as the elections have drawn closer. Markets have been worrying about a potential Syriza win because Greece might default on its debt and potentially exit the eurozone. In recent weeks though, Tsipras has softened his view on the euro and highlighted on numerous occasions that he intends to maintain the currency.
There is no doubt that this is not only a landmark moment in Greek politics but also in terms of Europe's future. Syriza has made big promises to its people regarding Greece's position and future within Europe. But the party has also vowed to make considerable changes internally on the back of a debt renegotiation with Europe. Tsipras wants to reverse cuts in public services as well as increase minimum wage salaries and pensions again. For a young party with a young leader, it is now time to act and show what they are truly capable of achieving in the face of a stern opponent: the European coalition. One thing is certain, there will be some trying time for Europe and Greece in the near future. Syriza faces a battle on two fronts, against Europe as it tries to renegotiate the debt, and internally as it tries to meet the promises made to its people. #Finance #Government