Greek election: leftist Syriza sweeping to victory

World Today

Supporters of left-wing Syriza party react at the election kiosk in Athens, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Greek election officials say the anti-austerity Syriza party has won Sunday’s vote, but it is too soon to say whether it has enough support to form a governing majority. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A radical left-wing party that is demanding an end to Greece’s painful austerity measures won Sunday’s parliamentary elections, threatening renewed turmoil in global markets and throwing the country’s continued membership in the eurozone into question.

But Syriza, led by 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was still waiting to find out whether it would have enough seats to govern alone, or be forced to seek support from another party, either in a coalition or as a minority government.

Greeks might have to wait until all the ballots are counted to find out whether they have a government.

Whatever the case, all eyes will be on the opening of world financial markets Monday after Syriza beat Antonis Samaras’ outgoing conservatives.

The Interior Ministry said that its projections, based on early returns, show Syriza gaining 150 seats.

But it added that the margin of error meant that the final number could be 149 to 151, and a final result could not emerge until all votes have been counted.

If the communist-rooted party fails to win at least 151 seats, it will have to find a coalition partner, or secure pledges of support that would allow it to form a minority government.

Tsipras has promised to renegotiate the country’s 240 billion-euro ($270 billion) international bailout deal, and seek forgiveness for most of Greece’s massive debt load.

He has pledged to reverse many of the reforms that creditors demanded – including cuts in pensions and the minimum wage, some privatisations and public sector firings – in exchange for keeping Greece financially afloat since 2010.

Meanwhile, Greece’s outgoing prime minister has conceded defeat to the radical left Syriza party, saying he is delivering a country that has put the worst of its financial crisis behind it.

Antonis Samaras said he had received a country “on the brink of disaster” when he took over in 2012 and that he has set the foundations for growth and a definitive end to Greece’s financial crisis.

Story compiled with the information from the Associated Press.