Sunday, September 20, 2015

Syriza still faces a formidable task to satisfy voters and creditors

by Tony Barber

Financial Times

September 20, 2015

The optimistic take on Greece’s election is that it was an exercise in democracy necessary to generate the political stability without which the nation stands no chance of fulfilling the conditions of its latest eurozone bailout. The pessimistic take is that it was a largely illusory exercise in democracy and it will solve nothing.

Optimists will maintain that the election result puts Greece in a much healthier place than it was in January. After an election in that month, Alexis Tsipras and his radical leftist Syriza party stormed to power on a platform of uncompromising resistance to the diet of austerity and reform prescribed since May 2010 by Greece’s creditors.

A confrontation rapidly unfolded between Syriza and the creditors that inflicted grave damage on the Greek economy and left the nation’s eurozone membership hanging by a thread.

Now, however — so the optimists’ argument goes — it appears that Syriza will be back in power, not only shorn of its most extreme leftist elements but committed to implementing a reform programme that Mr Tsipras accepted in July as the price for preserving Greece’s place in Europe’s 19-nation currency union.


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