Syriza wins Greek snap election; coalition with ANEL announced

Syriza wins Greek snap election; coalition with ANEL announced

Athens September 21, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

Greece’s left-wing Syriza part led by Alexis Tsipras won a landslide victory in Sunday’s general election.

Alexis Tsipras will remain Prime Minister. He will form a coalition government with populist right-wing party “Independent Greeks” (ANEL) led by Panos Kammenos.

The strongest challenger, the conservative New Democracy party, conceded defeat as it didn’t manage to improve its performance from the last general election in January 2015. New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis told reporters: “The election result it seems shows that the first party is Syriza and Tsipras. I congratulate him.”

Syriza won 145 seats in the new House having commanded 35.4 pct of the vote with New Democracy on 28.09 pct elecing 75 MPs. In the previous election (January 2015), Syriza won 36.3 pct (149 MPs) with New Democracy on 27.8 pct (76 MPs).

The election victory was big enough to be considered a personal triumph for Alexis Tsipras who managed to return to power having eliminated breakaway party Popular Unity (LAE) which didn’t enter parliament and maintained his coalition with ANEL, the party he governed with in the previous House.

Tsipras’s win confirms his supremacy in the Greek political scene at this juncture. He now has a clear mandate to handle the difficulty of implementing a tough bailout deal and deliver his promise of leading the country back to growth.

The “fascist” Golden Dawn party came third in the elecion with 6.99 percent (18 MPs). Socialist PASOK was fourth with 6.28 pct (17 MPs), Communist Party (KKE) came in 5th with 5.55 pct (15 Mps) and centrist to Potami followed (4.09 pct and 10 MPs). ANEL entered parliament having cleared the 3 pct threshold (10 MPs) while the Popular Unity party which broke away from Syriza in August missed out. A new entry in parliament was the Union of Centrists led by Vassilis Leventis. It won 3.4 pct of the vote, electing 9 deputies.

Alexis Tsipras addressed a rally of supporters in central Athens after securing a landslide victory in the election. He said “the Greek people gave us a clear mandate to keep fighting inside and outside the country and get rid of everything that keeps us grounded and tied to yesterday.”

I feel vindicated by this success, he continued, saying that the Greek people have handed him a clear mandate to govern for a full four-year term. Tsipras also warned that difficulties lie ahead, and that the recovery will not come magically. “We have a big fight ahead” the Syriza leader said.

Alexis Tsipras plans to take part in Wednesday’s European Council meeting as Prime Minister. Greek press reports stress that the new PM is determined to start implementing the agreement reached with the country’s creditors as soon as possible. It is rumored that Alexis Tsipras may appoint a minister – for the first time – in charge of overseeing implementation of the bailout agreement.

French President Francois Hollande welcomed Syriza’s victory. “This is an important outcome for Greece which will now live through a stabilisation period with a solid majority. It is an important success for Europe which must listen to the Greeks’ message” he said.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem also congratulated Alexis Tsipras in a tweet, adding that he looks forward to a swift formation of the new government with a strong mandate to continue the reform process.