Anti-bailout leader elected prime minister of Greece

World Today

Radical left leader Alexis Tsipras has been sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister, becoming the youngest man to hold the post in 150 years. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Radical left leader Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister on Monday after forming a surprise alliance with a small right-wing nationalist party called Independent Greeks, signaling possible confrontation over the country’s bailout.

The 40-year-old broke tradition and took a secular oath rather than the Greek Orthodox religious ceremony with which prime ministers are usually sworn in.

Later on he laid a wreath at the site of a 1944 execution of 200 Greek communists by Nazi troops as a reprisal for putting up an armed resistance against the occupiers.

He was greeted by a crowd of  Greece’s far-left Syriza supporters. Some of them approached to hug him and kiss him on the cheeks.

Tsipras’ anti-bailout party gained the backing needed to form a government by obtaining the support of Independent Greeks, which took 4.7 percent of the votes.

Syriza won 36.3 percent of the vote in Sunday’s early general elections but fell two seats short of the necessary majority in the 300-seat parliament to form a government on its own.

The details of who will serve in the government and whether the two parties will form a coalition or whether there will be a Syriza-only minority government supported by Independent Greeks are expected to be announced later Monday.

This report was compiled with information by The Associated Press