Monday, September 14, 2015

Alexis Tsipras fights the enemy within: disillusion

by Henry Foy & Kerin Hope

Financial Times

September 14, 2015

When Alexis Tsipras last month called a snap election , the Greek prime minister enjoyed a comfortable lead over his political rivals. But there was one enemy he may have overlooked: disillusionment within his own voting machine.

Many of the young supporters who propelled the leftwing Syriza party to power nine months ago feel betrayed by Mr Tsipras’s compromises and broken promises. The premier came to office as a fire-breathing, anti-austerity campaigner but stood down as a subdued pragmatist.

Their disillusionment before Sunday’s ballot is undermining his re-election bid and threatening a return to power of the centre-right New Democracy.

“Of course he betrayed us,” said Maria Farou, a 19 year-old student in Athens. “I was very angry. And I still am.”

Like an overwhelming number of young Greeks, Ms Farou is a Syriza supporter who voted No in a July referendum, backing Mr Tsipras’s call to reject an EU bailout that would have imposed more austerity measures on Greece’s broken economy.


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