Greece was set for a showdown with its international lenders last night after the radical far-left party Syriza won the country’s general election.
By the early hours of this morning Syriza appeared to be on the brink of forming a coalition deal with fellow anti-austerity party Anel.
The euro plummeted in early trading today, coming close to an 11-year low against the dollar.
Anel, also known as the Independent Greeks, is a more right-wing party but has stood alongside Syriza in its demands for change.
Disgruntled Greek voters showed their defiance at austerity measures that have been imposed as conditions of bailouts provided by international creditors such as Brussels, the European Central Bank and the IMF.
Syriza – an acronym that represents the Coalition of the Radical Left – has run its election campaign on the promise of greater spending and renegotiating some of the country’s debt.
“Today is a festival. Today we start with the hard work... The troika is over for Greece,” Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras told his emphatic supporters at Athens University.
“For five years we have been denied the right to any joy. Tonight we can celebrate; we have earned it.”
Tsipras punched the air and left the stage at the end of his speech to the sounds of a version of The Clash’s Rock the Casbah.
“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.”
Earlier on, ousted Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had telephoned Tsipras to congratulate him.
■ Syriza 36.3%
■ New Democracy 27.9%
■ Golden Dawn 6.3%
■ Potami 6%
■ KKE 5.5%
■ Independent Greeks 4.7%
■ Pasok 4.6%