Syriza wins Greek election: Alexis Tsipras to lead new government

Guy Bentley
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Greece elects new leadership (Source: Getty)

The radical left party Syriza has won Greece's snap election in a contest that could mark a historic turning point in the history of the Eurozone.

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras has called Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras to congratulate him on winning the election.

Samaras told an audience of supporters:

We were obliged to take difficult steps. Mistakes were made but we avoided the worst. Above all I deliver a country that is a member of the EU and the euro. I told the truth to the Greek people to the very end

Syriza supporters flooded the streets of Athens to celebrate the historic victory. The election marks the first time a radical anti-austerity has taken the reigns of power in a Eurozone country.

Speaking to crowds in Athens Tsipras told crowds at Athens university:

Our victory is of all the peoples of Europe who are struggling. I would like to assure you the new Greek government will be ready to co-operate and negotiate with our friends, with a just and useful solution so that Greece will return Europe to development and social stability and values like democracy and solidarity

The prospect of a Syriza victory led the leader of Germany's eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party Bernd Lucke to suggest some debt relief for Greece. However, Lucke added this haircut would have to be accompanied by Greece's exit from the single currency.

The President of the Bundesbank Jens Weidmann has urged Greece to stick its agreements on austerity and structural reform. Speaking to Reuters, Weidmann said:

I believe it’s also in the interest of the Greek government to do what is necessary to tackle the structural problems there.

I hope the new government won’t call into question what is expected and what has already been achieved.

Syriza stood on a platform of reversing austerity policies and negotiating to write off a large chunk of Greece's debt. This sets the party on a collision course with Berlin.

Angela Merkel is extremely unlikely to give in to all of Syriza's demands. If no common ground or compromise is reached, Greece could be forced to leave the Euro. Syriza has moderated its position over the past few months saying it wishes to remain in the single currency.

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