25th January 2015

Greece votes for ending austerity, Tsipras likely to become PM

On Sunday 25 January, Greek voters headed to the ballot rooms to elect a new parliament after the last one dissolved itself, having failed to elect the new president in December. As expected, the snap elections were won by the far-left anti-austerity Syriza led by the charismatic Alexis Tsipras, the likely next Prime Minister. According to the unofficial results, Syriza scored 36.3%, followed by the conservatives (New Democracy) of the outgoing Prime Minister Samaras with 27.8%. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn finished third, followed closely by the centrist To Potami, the communists, the socialists (Pasok) and the center-right populist Independent Greeks. Syriza´s result, together with the 50-seat premium for the winner, gives Mr Tsipras 149 seats in the 300-seat Greek assembly. This means that although scoring a spectacular win with a previously marginal party, Mr Tsipras will need to find a coalition partner before the 3 February deadline. The new parliament must hold a session on that day and if a government is not formed, new elections will follow. It is expected now, that Mr Tsipras will ask the Independent Greeks to join him in government. Other parties are either extremist, unpredictable, anti-euro or linked with the austerity establishment.

Syriza won mainly thanks to its anti-austerity promises. Mr Tsipras wants to end the cuts imposed by the international creditors and would like to see the Greek sovereign debt cut off to provide  fresh start for the suffering people and economy. Although he has eased his demands towards the eurozone, where he would like to stay, his steps are still contradictory to some eurozone policies. The following months will therefore be very interesting for the monetary union.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic