by Christine Pirovolakis & Stephen Lowman
German Press Agency (DPA)
January 26, 2015
Known for his aversion to wearing ties, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the leftist SYRIZA party, joked with reporters on the eve of Sunday's parliamentary election that he would finally put one around his neck when he gets debt reduction for Greece.
But the man poised to become the youngest-ever Greek prime minister following his party's landmark victory may be tieless a while longer.
The more radical elements of his party could become a potential albatross around his neck, preventing him from forming a coalition government and extracting concessions from Greece's international creditors.
While Tsipras has toned-down his radical rhetoric to sound more like a political realist, the same cannot be said for other members.
Breaking onto the scene five years ago driving a motorbike rather than riding backseat in a limo like most Greek politicians, the "Greek Che Guevara" would make over-the-top remarks, such as when he said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was leading "everyone straight to hell."
But he has long since abandoned his ponytail and is now viewed as a committed family man, married to his high school sweetheart and father to two sons.
He has improved his English, sought audiences with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, and now talks of renegotiating Greece's bailout agreement, instead of wanting to "tear it up."
Now he must prove he can get his eclectic party in line.
"Greeks are hoping the outcome of the elections will bring about immediate results" on changing the terms of the bailout, said Aristides Hatzis, associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens.