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Tsipras And Syriza’s Win Reboots European Social Democracy

Gow, D. (2015) “Tsipras And Syriza’s Win Reboots European Social Democracy“, Social Europe Journal, 26 Ιανουαρίου.


The “vicious circle of austerity is over,” said Alexis Tsipras, Syriza leader and Greece’s likely new premier, after his party won a stunning victory in yesterday’s general election. It would be replaced, he added, by “a politics of hope, solidarity and co-operation.” He and his senior colleagues say this is true for the EU as a whole.

As Sunday evening unfolded it was clear the Syriza victory was less comprehensive than that of early exit polls suggesting a 12% lead over New Democracy, the outgoing ruling centre-right party of Antonis Samaras. In the end it was 8.5%, with Tsipras, armed with some 149 seats, just shy of an absolute majority of 151, gladly forced to rely on coalition partners.

The outcome is, nevertheless, extraordinary and not just because Syriza, a left/democratic socialist party, won just 4.6% of the vote five years ago. It sends several clear and dramatic messages to the EU and its ruling elite in Brussels, Berlin and other European capitals – not least Madrid where Podemos, Syriza’s ally, is riding high in the polls ahead of the elections later this year.

One is that long-suffering voters can no longer stomach self-defeating austerian policies that result in a country losing a quarter of its national output, its young people either emigrating in droves or forced to be, like 50%-plus others, jobless and without a future, its pensioners lose 40% of their income, its middle class unable to buy medicines – and its rich squirrel even more of its wealth overseas and pay no tax. This six-year Sisyphean effort to meet with the conditions imposed with the €240bn bail-out programme has pushed up public debt to 175% of GDP – when it is supposed to reduce it.


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