[Marxism] Huffington post: Anti-Bailout Syriza Party Wins Greek Election By Wide Margin, Officials Say
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Sun Jan 25 17:44:29 MST 2015
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The radical left, anti-austerity Syriza party has won
Greece's vote, election officials said
But it was unclear whether the communist-rooted party, led by 40-year-old
Alexis Tsipras, had won by a big enough margin over Prime Minister Antonis
Samaras' incumbent conservatives to govern alone. For that, they need a
minimum 151 of parliament's 300 seats.
Official results from 17.6 percent of polling stations counted showed
Syriza with 35 percent and Samaras' New Democracy with 29.3 percent. An
exit poll on state-run Nerit TV projected Syriza as winning with between 36
and 38 percent, compared to ND with 26-28 percent.
Earlier projections had given Syriza 146-158 seats in parliament, and New
Democracy 65-75 seats.
Outgoing Prime Minister Samaras conceded defeat
late on Sunday, and called Syriza's Tsirpas to congratulate him on the
Tsipras has promised to renegotiate the country's 240 billion-euro ($270
billion) international bailout deal, and seek forgiveness for most of
Greece's massive debt load. He has pledged to reverse many of the reforms
that creditors demanded — including cuts in pensions and the minimum wage,
some privatizations and public sector firings — in exchange for keeping
Greece financially afloat since 2010.
As Tsirpas went to cast his vote in Athens, youth activists from his Syriza
party were heard
to chant "the Left's time has come!"
"What's clear is we have a historic victory that sends a message that does
not only concern the Greek people, but all European peoples," Syriza party
spokesman Panos Skourletis said on Mega television. "There is great relief
among all Europeans. The only question is how big a victory it is."
Skourletis said the election results heralded "a return of social dignity
and social justice. A return to democracy. Because, beyond the wild
austerity, democracy has suffered." He stated that Syriza's victory "sends
a message against austerity and in favour of dignity and democracy."
Syriza's anti-bailout rhetoric appealed to many in a country that, in the
past five years of its acute financial crisis, has seen a quarter of its
economy wiped out, unemployment of above 25 percent, and average income
losses of at least 30 percent.
But it has also renewed doubts over Greece's ability to emerge from its
financial crisis, and fears that the country's finances could once again
send shockwaves through global markets and undermine the euro, the currency
shared by 19 European countries.
People look at a giant screen showing a exit poll on January 25, 2015 in
Athens, Greece. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Samaras' New Democracy party conceded defeat not too long after the exit
poll was announced.
"We lost," Health Minister and conservative party parliamentary spokesman
Makis Voridis told private Mega TV, adding that the extent of the defeat
wasn't yet clear. He said the government's austerity policies, implemented
to secure vital international bailouts, "make sense" but were cut short
before they could bear fruit.
Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis congratulated Syriza,
saying its victory "cannot be questioned."
"It is evident the Greek people believed there is another way forward than
the one described by the government," he said. "For the good of the
country, I hope they are right."
Greeks have faced years of austerity measures, including cuts in wages,
pensions and government spending, and tax increases.
Greece's creditors insist the country must abide by previous commitments to
continue receiving support, and investors and markets alike have been
spooked by the anti-bailout rhetoric. Greece could face bankruptcy if a
solution is not found, although speculation of a "Grexit" — Greece leaving
the euro — and a potential collapse of the currency has been far less
fraught than during the last general election in 2012.
"There is an expectation of economic relief for many, of a reboot of the
economy and there will be a new debate on the servicing of the debt,"
Syriza's Skourletis said. "Europeans have accommodated themselves with the
Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate outside Syriza's main electoral
kiosk in central Athens, waving flags and cheering.
The centrist Potami (River) party was battling for third place with the
Nazi-inspired, extreme right-wing Golden Dawn, whose leadership is in
prison pending trial for running a criminal organization. Both were
projected as being between 6 and 7 percent. Early official returns showed
Golden Dawn slightly ahead with 6 percent, compared to Potami's 5.6 percent.
If Syriza falls shy of the 151 seats necessary to form a government on its
own, it will have to seek support from other parties — either in a minority
government or as a coalition.
A Syriza government will see Tsipras becoming Greece's youngest prime
minister in 150 years.
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