Following the failure of the Greek parliament to elect a new president on 29 December 2014, Greece goes to the polls once more for an early general election on 25th January 2015. All opinion polls that I have seen since June last year indicate that SYRIZA are likely to get the majority vote, although not necessarily an overall majority (meaning that the eventual parliament formed may well be a coalition, which might not necessarily include them). This means that no matter what my personal view of their party may be, they may well end up being the ones setting Greece’s international agenda at some point soon. SYRIZA have existed as an alliance of various smaller parties since 2004, but only reformed as a proper political party in 2012. As such, they have never been in power before and relatively little is known about their policies, other than those relating to the terms of Greece’s bailout by the EU & others.
Alexis Tsipras, the leader of SYRIZA was interviewed by Channel 4 news, and made clear that he wants the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. This is not entirely surprising, as they are broadly speaking a party who ride on a wave of nationalist sentiments. One hopes though, that they will have the sense to deal with the issue sensibly on an international level, rather the campaign becoming part of their anti-establishment tub-thumping, which is unlikely to win the campaign many converts outside of Greece.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras
Channel 4 News
Wednesday 07 Jan 2015
Alexis Tsipras: we want debt relief and the Elgin Marbles
Alexis Tsipras arrives late: he’s spent the morning sorting out wrangles over Syriza’s candidate list for this month’s election. As the polls currently predict he’s likely to win, this is no longer a side issue. If Syriza becomes the first far left government in modern Europe, those MPs will be asked to pull the trigger on a showdown with Europe that could change the economics of the whole eurozone.
Tsipras has pledged to end the austerity programme imposed by the troika – and at the same time negotiate the write-off of 50 per cent of Greek debt. So the obvious question is: what does he do if they say no?
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