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Greece election: Alexis Tsipras hails ‘victory of the people’

Greece’s Alexis Tsipras has said his left-wing Syriza party has a “clear mandate” after winning a second general election in less than nine months.

Mr Tsipras (L) will team up with the nationalist Independent Greeks

Mr Tsipras (L) will team up with the nationalist Independent Greeks. Photo BBC

But he said Greeks faced a difficult road and recovery from financial crisis would only come through hard work.

Syriza won just over 35%, slightly down on its previous result and still short of an overall majority.

But it will renew its coalition with the nationalist Independent Greeks. Opposition New Democracy gained 28%.

Far-right Golden Dawn came in third with 7%, slightly up on January’s poll.

Syriza was first elected in January on an anti-austerity mandate, but was forced to accept tough conditions for Greece’s third international bailout.

Sunday’s snap election was called after Mr Tsipras lost his majority in August.

Some of his MPs who had opposed the new bailout conditions split to form a new party, but it has failed to get into parliament. Turnout was low.

Analysis: Paul Moss, BBC News, Athens

Syriza supporters were jubilant as their party won its second election in a year. Photo BBC

Syriza supporters were jubilant as their party won its second election in a year. Photo BBC

They expected victory, but not by this kind of margin. Only days ago, pollsters and pundits were predicting a tight-run contest, Syriza neck-and-neck with its conservative rivals, New Democracy. Instead, Syriza can comfortably form a coalition government with its previous partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks.

Critics wondered whether it was worth holding a contest which left Greece with the same government as before. But Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, is now in a stronger position, his decision to accept austerity measures in return for bailout cash apparently vindicated by the result.

Yet celebrations have been muted – hundreds not thousands gathering to sing, dance and wave flags. This country has more tough times ahead – tax rises, perhaps further cuts to wages and benefits. The re-elected prime minister has an in-box that no-one could envy.

“I feel vindicated because the Greek people have a clear mandate to carry on fighting inside and outside our country to uphold the pride of our people,” Mr Tsipras told supporters in Athens.

“In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity.

Mr Tsipras was joined at the celebrations by Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos.

“Together we will continue the struggle we began seven months ago,” Mr Tsipras said.

Among the challenges facing Mr Tsipras will be satisfying international creditors that Greece is meeting the terms of the latest bailout package worth up to €86bn ($97bn, £61bn). It involved more austerity for ordinary Greeks.

Creditors carry out a review in October and there is still some opposition from within Syriza.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup meetings of eurozone finance ministers, said he was “ready to work closely” with the new Greek government.

The Greek electoral system means the party with the largest number of votes wins a bonus of 50 seats – and Syriza will have 145 seats in the 300-seat parliament, only four fewer than in Mr Tsipras’s January victory.

The Independent Greeks party, which is anti-austerity but agrees with Syriza on little else, won 10 seats. New Democracy won 75, Golden Dawn 18.

Mr Tsipras won despite voters’ rejection of austerity in a July referendum.

Greece’s turbulent year

29 Dec: Greek parliament fails to elect president, leading to snap elections a month later

25 Jan: Leftist Syriza party’s Alexis Tsipras elected PM on an anti-austerity manifesto

24 Feb: Greece’s European lenders agree to extend its second bailout by four months

Jun: Marathon talks take place to avoid Greek bankruptcy and possibly leaving the eurozone. PM Tsipras calls a referendum on a possible bailout agreement

5 Jul: Greek voters overwhelmingly reject terms of third EU bailout in referendum vote

14 Aug: Greece agrees bailout deal worth up to €86bn with its creditors – its third in five years – allowing tax hikes and new spending cuts. Mr Tsipras resigns a week later clearing the way for snap elections in September, as he seeks a new mandate

20 Sept: New Democracy concedes election victory to Syriza


SRC: BBC

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