Connect with us

World

Greek leftist leader Tsipras claims victory over austerity

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Greek leftist leader Tsipras claims victory over austerity
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras promised on Sunday that five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed by international creditors were over after his Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election on Sunday.

With about 92 percent of votes counted, Syriza was set to win 149 seats in the 300-seat parliament, taking 36.3 percent of the vote, 8.5 points ahead of the conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Samaras conceded victory but only the final result, expected in the early hours of Monday will show whether Syriza has won the 151 seats that would allow it to rule alone.

Nevertheless, the 40-year-old Tsipras is on course to become prime minister of the first euro zone government openly opposed to the kind of severe austerity policies which the European Union and International Monetary Fund imposed on Greece as a condition of its bailout.

“Greece leaves behinds catastrophic austerity, it leaves behind fear and authoritarianism, it leaves behind five years of humiliation and anguish,” Tsipras told thousands of cheering supporters gathered in Athens.

Financial markets reacted nervously to the victory of Tspiras, who has promised to renegotiate Greece’s debt agreements, fearing potential conflict with other euro zone governments that could put more strain on the currency bloc.

The euro slid to near an 11-year low and U.S. stock futures fell as Asian markets opened on Monday.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has insisted Greece must respect the terms of its 240 billion euro bailout deal, which saved the country from bankruptcy but at the cost of bitter sacrifices by the Greek people.

As thousands of flag-waving supporters hit the streets of Athens, some shedding tears of joy, Germany’s Bundesbank warned Greece it needed reform to tackle its economic problems.

Syriza’s campaign slogan “Hope is coming!” resonated with voters worn down by huge budget cuts and heavy tax rises during six years of crisis that has sent unemployment over 25 percent and pushed millions into poverty.

“We hope our expectations will be fulfilled,” said 47-year-old teacher Efi Avgoustakoushe. “On Monday in class, we’re not allowed to comment and take sides but we will be smiling.”

“LOST DIGNITY”

Tsipras said he would cooperate with fellow euro zone leaders for “a fair and mutually beneficial solution” but said the Greek people came first. “Our priority from the very first day will be to deal with the big wounds left by the crisis,” he said. “Our foremost priority is that our country and our people regain their lost dignity.”

He has promised to keep Greece in the euro and has toned down some of his rhetoric but his arrival in power would mark the biggest challenge yet to the approach adopted to the crisis by euro zone governments.

Syriza’s victory is likely to encourage other anti-austerity parties which are winning support across Europe, such as the Podemos movement in Spain.

But it might also strengthen the hand of mainstream leaders including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Minister Matteo Renzi who argue that orthodox austerity policies have failed to produce the economic growth which Europe needs to recover fully from the global financial crisis.

Hollande expressed in a statement his “desire to pursue the close cooperation between our two countries in service of growth and the stability of the euro zone”.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja was more forthright, saying he believed the result would change the debate in Europe and put more emphasis on growth and employment. “This is a slap at what I see as a very right-wing economic policy in Europe,” Tuomioja, a Social Democrat, told the website of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

However with Greece’s economy unlikely to recover for years, Tsipras faces enormous problems and his victory raises the prospect of tough negotiations with European partners including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Greece’s bailout deal with the euro zone is due to end on Feb. 28 and Tsipras’ immediate challenge will be to settle doubts over the next installment of more than 7 billion euros in international aid. EU finance ministers are due to discuss the issue in Brussels on Monday.

If Syriza falls short of a majority, Tsipras will have to try to build a coalition with smaller parties or form a minority government with ad-hoc support from others in parliament.

“It’s a historic win,” said Athens-based political analyst John Loulis, adding that Tsipras would have to form a coalition to prevent renewed instability. “He has no other option, the last thing the country needs would be another round of elections

Negotiations are likely to begin immediately, and both the small Independent Greeks party and centrist To Potami party, said they would be willing to support an anti-bailout government. If Syriza requires support to govern, it may find itself hostage to its partners’ demands, raising questions over how durable a Tsipras government would prove.

STANDOFF WITH BERLIN

Tsipras has promised to renegotiate agreements with the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund “troika” and write off much of Greece’s 320 billion-euro debt, which at more than 175 percent of gross domestic product, is the world’s second highest after Japan.

Coming after the ECB’s move to pump billions into the bloc’s flagging economy, Sunday’s result will stir consternation in Berlin. A senior lawmaker in Merkel’s conservative party said the result showed Greek voters had turned away from austerity but he said Europe could not accept rejection of the bailout.

“We must not reward the breaching of agreements,” Wolfgang Bosbach told the daily Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper. “That would send completely the wrong signal to other crisis-stricken countries that would then expect the same treatment.”

Tsipras wants to roll back many of the measures demanded by the “troika”, raising the minimum wage, lowering power prices for poor families, cutting property taxes and reversing pension and public sector pay cuts.

U.S. investment bank J.P. Morgan said the result could weigh on markets but that it considered speculation over a possible Greek exit from the euro was “a stretch” and a negotiated deal appeared the most likely outcome. “Our base case remains that a Syriza government or Syriza-dominated coalition would alter its platform to retain troika financing,” it said.

Greece, unable to tap the markets because of sky-high borrowing costs, has enough cash to meet its immediate funding needs for the next couple of months but it faces around 10 billion euros of debt repayments over the summer. ($1 = 0.8923 euros)

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Bangkok3 hours ago

Bang Sue Station begins 150k vaccine booster shots tomorrow

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Expat “dual pricing” at Thai hospital lawsuit; Patong bars raided | September 23

Economy4 hours ago

PM Prayut announces a 5-point plan for the future economy

Sponsored1 day ago

HOMA is now offering fully-serviced, affordable lifestyle apartments in Phuket Town.

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand5 hours ago

Khon Kaen restaurant busted for allegedly serving alcohol

Kanchanaburi6 hours ago

14 Burmese migrant workers arrested for allegedly illegally crossing the border

Chiang Mai7 hours ago

Cyclist unable to take steep hill plunges to his death in Chiang Mai ravine

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand7 hours ago

Thaiger Bites | The eye of the Thaiger | Ep. 24

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 13,256 new cases; provincial totals

Pattaya8 hours ago

Pattaya Man goes looking for food, later found dead in graveyard

Phuket8 hours ago

Minor Phuket entry revision: Covid-19 test within 7 days, not 3

News9 hours ago

Grenade attack kills ranger in Pattani

Pattaya9 hours ago

Reopening Pattaya: Will it happen next week or not?

Thailand10 hours ago

5 police kiosks set on fire in Bangkok, no injuries reported

Pattaya10 hours ago

Pattaya restaurant busted selling alcohol, 15 arrested

Thailand10 hours ago

Decision on Hua Hin Hospital “dual pricing” case set for next week

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending