Alexis Tsipras, the ‘Laughing Boy’ as he’s known locally due to his youthful looks and smiling face, won the elections by a comfortable margin. He is to form a government with ANEL, a right-wing, anti-austerity party he’s already collaborated with in the past. Godspeed – he has a huge task ahead, and now he’s been given the mandate to proceed. No more referendums or elections, no more escape routes.
The ‘Return to the drachma’ faction was wiped out as it failed to win a single seat in Parliament. Tsipras bounced back from an in-house revolt of radicals which nearly made him lose control of his party. He now must prove himself as a leader to deal with issues such as the immigrant crisis and also implement the reforms he signed for the bail-out agreement.
The elections are finished, the Troika returns, screamed a headline in one of the dailies. The election is over, the crisis isn’t, wrote another paper.
Let’s hope that politicians will settle down now and do their jobs, instead of spending their days on TV panels, shouting at each other.
In a worrying statistic, 2 million less people turned up to vote than in 2004. That’s around 45% of the electorate, a record by Greek standards. In a population of around 10 million who can vote, that is huge. Parties will have their work cut out to win those people back.
Even more worrying, Golden Dawn, the extreme-right party, won two more seats in Parliament than before. That means that 400,000 people voted for a party who has acknowledged murdering people and whose leader has spent time in jail.
What will be the face of Greece in two years? In five? We are facing an uphill battle, but Greeks have proved they are resilient, so we must hope there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
photo by Eleni Koryzi