Tsipras to be sworn in as Greek prime minister after election win


Athens (dpa) – Alexis Tsipras was set Monday to be sworn in for the second time as prime minister of Greece after his leftist SYRIZA party was swept back into power in a snap election.

With nearly all the ballots counted, SYRIZA clinched more than 35 per cent of the vote versus conservative rival New Democracy’s 28 per cent. Extremist far-right party Golden Dawn came in third with 7 per cent.

Less than two hours after polls closed Sunday evening, New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis conceded defeat and Tsipras said shortly after that he would seek to build a government with former junior coalition partner Independent Greeks.

Tsipras triggered the snap election when he resigned in mid-August after passing a slew of difficult reform measures required for fresh financing from international creditors through parliament by relying on the opposition.

After he resigned, the anti-austerity, anti-euro factions in SYRIZA branched off to form their own party, but on Sunday it only garnered 2.86 per cent – not enough to enter parliament.

The vote secured SYRIZA 145 seats in parliament, including the 50-seat bonus for the party that came out in front. With the Independent Greeks’ 10 seats, the coalition can count on 155 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

Vote turnout was historically low, with only 56.5 per cent coming out to the polls.

Golden Dawn, some of whose members are facing charges for forming a criminal organization, crept forward in the polls on its anti-euro, anti-immigrant platform.

As the country grapples with a mounting migration crisis that has seen thousands of migrants and refugees land on its far-flung islands – occasionally overwhelming local resources – state broadcaster ERT reported that Tsipras would appoint a special migration minister to coordinate Greece’s response.

He is also due to attend a migration summit Wednesday in Brussels.

Over the next few months, Greece will be required to implement a programme of reforms agreed to in exchange for a 86-billion-euro (97-billion-dollar) bailout package.

Tsipras, who has promised to keep pursuing debt restructuring, said during his victory speech Sunday that he would also clamp down on corruption within the country.

“The Greek people gave us a clear mandate to continue fighting for the sake of the people, both within and outside the country. We have a clear mandate to finish with the old regime,” he said.