Greece: Tsipras sworn in with civil oath, honours communist resistance fighters

New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lays flowers at National Resistance Memorial.

Leader of the Greek radical left wing party SYRIZA Tsipras, took an oath pledging to "always serve the interests of the Greek people", rather than the traditional religious oath, in his swearing-in as the nation's new prime minister on the afternoon of January 26.

The ceremony was held before the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias at the Maximos Mansion in central Athens. This is the first time in the history of Greece that a prime minister has not taken the traditional oath and blessing of holy water from the Archbishop of Greece.

Immediately after the ceremony, Tsipras’s first act as prime minster was to lay flowers at the National Resistance Memorial in the Athens suburb of Kaisariani.

The site, a former rifle range, was where the Nazis executed 200 Greek communist resistance fighters on May 1, 1944. Traditionally, the first act of a new prime minister is to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Tsipras laid a small bouquet of roses at the monument and placed his hand upon his heart to honor those killed.

A large crowd of supporters was there to applaud the new prime minister upon his arrival. This symbolic act not only holds emotional significance for many Greeks it also sends Germany a strong message.

[Vivian Messimeris is part of the Green Left team in Greece to cover the January 25 elections. She is a member of Australia's Socialist Alliance in Sydney. Read of all Green Left's eyewitness coverage of the Greek elections here.]

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