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.
Green Left Weekly/s Vivian Messimeris spoke with SYRIZA activist and pensioner Sissy Vovou in Athens about the effects of austerity and the hope a SYRIZA government brings. You can read all of the Green Left reporting from Greece here and follow the Green Left live blog on the elections here. What impact have the austerity measures had on you?
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.
A crowd of about 80 people gathered to hear SYRIZA candidates speak at an outdoor meeting held in the suburb of Ambelokipi. Several candidates spoke passionately about the need for change, the need for action and the need for self-reliance. I was asked to present greetings in Greek on behalf of Green Left Weekly and Socialist Alliance.
Vivian Messimeris is part of the Green Left Weekly team covering the elections in Greece, which polls give radical left group SYRIZA a strong chance of winning on January 25. She spoke to Hara Petsiou, a cleaner sacked from her job at the finance ministry. The sacked cleaners are fighting for their jobs. You can read more of Green Left's eyewitness coverage of Greece here. *** Can you explain what you are protesting about?
Today we visited one of the solidarity clinics that operates in the suburb of Peristeri. We met with some of the volunteers that work in the clinic that included two doctors as well as other activists. The clinic is staffed by 60 volunteers, including 20 doctors, and offers free medical consultations and pharmaceuticals. Peristeri is largely a working class suburb of 400,000 people and is located in west Athens, which has a population of 1 million. Before the economic crisis most residents worked in blue-collar industry or were self-employed in small businesses.
Speakers from the SYRIZA -- the radical left force poised to win Greece's January 25 general elections -- addressed the topic of “How To Recover From Unemployment” and the role of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) in Athens on January 20. The meeting was addressed by SYRIZA candidates Despina Spanou, Dimitrios Stratoulis and Nazos Iliopoulos, as well Maria Karamesini, a SYRIZA member and economics lecturer at Panteio University.