Greek radical left wins election
Athens, Greece — A radical left-wing party vowing to end Greece’s painful austerity program won a historic victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, setting the stage for a showdown with the country’s international creditors that could shake the eurozone.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the communist-rooted Syriza party, immediately promised to end the “five years of humiliation and pain” that Greece has endured since an international bailout saved it from bankruptcy in 2010.
With 80 percent of polling stations counted, Syriza had 36 percent versus 28 percent for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ conservatives.
It remained to be seen whether Syriza had enough seats to govern outright or would have to seek support from other parties. That might not become clear until Monday morning or even later, when all the votes are counted.
If Tsipras, 40, can put together a government, he will be Greece’s youngest prime minister in 150 years.
The prospect of an anti-bailout government coming to power in Greece has sent jitters through the financial world, reviving fears of a Greek bankruptcy that could reverberate across the eurozone.
Tsirpas won on promises to demand debt forgiveness and renegotiate the terms of Greece’s 240 billion-euro ($270 billion) bailout, which has kept the debt-ridden country afloat since mid-2010.
To qualify for the cash, Greece has had to impose deep and bitterly resented cuts in public spending, wages and pensions, along with public sector layoffs and repeated tax increases.
Tsipras pronounced the troika and its regular debt inspections “a thing of the past.”
“The verdict of the Greek people ends, beyond any doubt, the vicious circle of austerity in our country,” he said.
Greece’s creditors insist the country must abide by previous commitments to continue receiving support.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.