January 25, 2015
After five years of extreme austerity prescribed to treat an epidemic of debt, a battered but defiant Greece on Sunday emphatically rejected the medicine.
With millions of voters turning out — from graffiti-scarred lanes in the Parthenon’s shadow to islands lapped by aqua-green waves — the country delivered a historic win to Syriza, a radical leftist party that could put Greece on a collision course with the rest of Europe. The expected showdown has already rattled Greek financial markets and may challenge the core principle behind Europe’s currency union.
As thousands of party supporters cheered in the streets of Athens on Sunday night, nearly complete returns showed that Syriza had defeated its rivals by an unexpectedly wide margin. Though the total appeared just below the level of support needed to form a government without a coalition partner, Syriza’s charismatic young leader trumpeted the results as a new beginning for his beleaguered nation.