Greece’s radical left-wing Syriza party looks to have won a decisive — and historic — victory in Sunday’s national elections, according to projections by state-run TV’s exit poll.
It was unclear whether the party, led by Alexis Tsipras, would win a big enough margin over Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ convervatives to govern without needing to form a coalition.
Samaras’ New Democracy party conceded defeat shortly after the exit poll by Nerit TV was announced.
“We lost,” Health Minister and conservative party parliamentary spokesman Makis Voridis told private Mega TV, adding that the extent of the defeat wasn’t yet clear. “Our role will be the one the Greek people assigned to us: the major opposition party. From this standpoint, we will critique the (new) government’s policies, remaining true to our principles.”
Voridis said the government’s austerity policies, implemented to secure vital international bailouts, “make sense” but were cut short before they could bear fruit.
“What’s clear is we have a historic victory that sends a message that does not only concern the Greek people, but all European peoples,” Syriza party spokesman Panos Skourletis said on Mega television. “There is great relief among all Europeans. The only question is how big a victory it is.”
Skourletis said the election results heralded “a return of social dignity and social justice. A return to democracy. Because, beyond the wild austerity, democracy has suffered.”
The stakes in Sunday’s elections are huge. The results could determine the country’s financial future and whether it stays inside the eurozone.
The election was being held nearly two years ahead of time and Syriza has run on a campaign of renegotiating the nation’s $270 international bailout deal with the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
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SOURCE: USA Today
Kim Hjelmgaard and Jane Onyanga-Omara