Alexis Tsipras stormed back into office as Greek prime minister with an unexpectedly decisive election victory Sunday, claiming a clear mandate to steer Greece’s battered economy to recovery, Reuters reported.
The vote ensured Europe’s most outspoken leftist leader would remain Greece’s dominant political figure, despite having been abandoned by radicals in his Syriza party last month after he caved in to demands for austerity to win a bailout from the eurozone.
In a victory speech to cheering crowds in a square in Athens, he promised a new phase of stability in a country that has held five general elections in six years, saying his mandate would now see him through a full term.
“Today in Europe, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity,” he said.
He made no specific reference to the 85 billion euro (US$96 billion) bailout, but Syriza campaigned on a pledge to implement it, while promising also to introduce measures to protect vulnerable groups from some aspects of the deal.
Tsipras’s first task after forming a government will be to persuade European Union lenders that enough agreed steps have been made to ensure the next payment. The bailout program is due for a review next month.
Tsipras will also need to grapple with Greece’s central role in Europe’s refugee crisis, as the main entry point for tens of thousands of migrants who arrive by sea and trek up the Balkan peninsula to richer EU countries farther north.
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