Sunday, January 25, 2015
Syriza Rides Anti-Austerity Wave to Landslide Victory in Greece
January 25, 2015
Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza brushed aside Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s party to record a landslide victory in Greece’s elections, after riding a public backlash against years of budget cuts demanded by international creditors, exit polls showed.
Tsipras’s Coalition of the Radical Left, known by its Greek acronym, took between 36 percent and 38 percent compared with 26 percent to 28 percent for Samaras’s New Democracy in Sunday’s election, according to an exit poll on state-run Nerit TV showed. To Potami, formed less than a year ago and a potential Syriza coalition partner, tied for third place with the far-right Golden Dawn on 6 percent to 7 percent.
The projected victory, by a wider margin than polls predicted, may be enough for Syriza to govern alone. It hands Tsipras, 40, an overwhelming mandate to confront Greece’s program of austerity imposed in return for pledges of 240 billion euros ($269 billion) in aid since May 2010. The challenge for him now is to strike a balance between keeping his election pledges including a writedown of Greek debt and avoiding what Samaras repeatedly warned was the risk of an accidental exit from the euro.
Syriza, in a statement read out by a party official, said the victory was “historic” and one that represented hope.