by Costas Paris
Wall Street Journal
June 16, 2012
Greece’s radical left Syriza party has risen from obscurity to a mainstream political force by threatening to tear apart a bailout program whose strict austerity terms have pushed millions of Greek households to despair.
The party is running neck-and-neck with the conservative New Democracy ahead of Sunday’s elections and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, tops the popularity charts, making him a strong candidate to become the next prime minister. For the 37-year-old politician, this is a golden opportunity to win power and tell the country’s creditors that the belt-tightening dogma imposed by Europe’s paymaster, Germany, is bringing havoc not only to Greece but to the euro zone in general.
But rather than elation, the prospect of victory is bringing agony and fear among many senior officials within Syriza. The reason: Syriza may not be ready to govern just yet, and Greece doesn’t have the luxury of time.