Friday, January 23, 2015

Syriza’s Rise Fueled by Professors-Turned-Politicians

by Charles Forelle

Wall Street Journal

January 23, 2015

Wearing suit pants and a jacket, Costas Lapavitsas stood Wednesday afternoon on the floor of a steel-fabricating shop here and addressed a few dozen workers and small-business owners who smoked while sitting in plastic chairs. “I am not a career politician,” he began.

Indeed. Mr. Lapavitsas ’s political career is only a few weeks old. In Greece’s elections Sunday, he is a parliamentary candidate for the leftist opposition party Syriza, which leads Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ’s conservative party in the polls and could roil politics throughout Europe if it wins.

For more than 20 years, the 54-year-old Mr. Lapavitsas has taught economics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Now, he is part of the cadre of academics-turned-politicians forging Syriza’s economic thinking.

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