Greek leftist leader rules out support for austerity deal
ATHENS LEFTIST Alexis Tsipras, head of Greece’s second party Syriza who was given on Tuesday a mandate to form a government, said the new cabinet should reject all austerity measures imposed under an EU-IMF loan deal.
“The public verdict has clearly nullified the loan agreement and (pledges) sent to Europe and the IMF,” Tsipras said in a televised address.
The country’s youngest political leader at 37, Tsipras was earlier tasked with forming a government in three days by President Carolos Papoulias, after a similar attempt by the first-ranked conservative New Democracy party failed.
General elections on Sunday failed to produce a clear winner but gave an overwhelming boost to second-place Syriza, which won 52 seats in parliament.
Tsipras pledged to form an antiausterity coalition with other leftist parties to reverse a spate of labour laws demanded by Greece’s creditors to improve competitiveness, but which the leftists see as catastrophic for workers.
“Citizens have crushingly voted against the barbaric policy of loan agreements. They put an end to plans for 77 new austerity measures in June, plans to lay off 150,000 civil servants, and to additional measures worth 11.5 billion euros,” he said in his address.
“This was a mature, conscious political choice,” he said.