Alexis Tsipras

It had been planned to be a lavish celebration on the Pnyx hill next to the Acropolis in Athens where the citizenry would hold popular assemblies in the ancient democratic period.

The angry aftermath of the forest fires last month put paid to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hosting European Union and other luminaries in such a way. The event was to mark the formal end of the country’s subordination to the austerity memorandums enforced on it by the “troika” of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund.

By any logic, Greece's SYRIZA-led government should be sinking in the opinion polls.

At the Brussels Eurosummit of Eurozone leaders on July 12, SYRIZA Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to a set of draconian preconditions for obtaining a third €86 billion bailout. The decision effectively reversed the opposition to austerity on which SYRIZA was elected in January.

“Greece is turning the page,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras told an ecstatic crowd on January 25. The radical left party had just come first in historic elections in Greece with 36.3% of the vote.

“Greece leaves behind the austerity that caused its destruction. It leaves behind fear and intimidation; it leaves behind five years of humiliation and grief. Greece advances with hope, with dignity and steady steps towards a changing Europe.”

The news from Greece has spread hope around the world.

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.

Thousands gathered to watch SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras give his victory speech in front of Athens University on the night of Jaunary 25, after SYRIZA won the Greek elections with more than 36% of the vote.

Some were jubilant, but others were visibly moved. SYRIZA member Marina Moutafidou described how she had been waiting for this moment for more than 40 years.

Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) came close last year to winning national elections standing on a program of rejecting brutal anti-austerity measures and pushing polices in favour of working people. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras spoke to a large public meeting in London on March 15 on the need for radical, democratic changes across Europe. His speech is reprinted from Left.gr.

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