05:13 GMT09 May 2021
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    As the initial euphoria fades from Syriza's victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece, the reality will now sink in - Syriza is unlikely to cancel the austerity regime of the country completely, according to Greek policy analysts.

    MOSCOW, January 26 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — The winner of the parliamentary elections in Greece, Syriza party, is unlikely to cancel the austerity regime in the country completely, understanding its possible consequences for the Greek economy and having to start negotiations with the European partners, analysts of Greek policy told Sputnik Monday.


    According to the official results of Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece, the leftist Syriza has won with 36.34 percent of the vote, beating the incumbent conservative New Democracy and winning 149 seats in the parliament, just two short of an absolute majority. Syriza has gained popularity partly with promises to cancel Greece's harsh national debt austerity regime and renegotiate its relations with international creditors.

    "Thinking of the speech that Alexis Tsipras [Syriza's leader] gave last night after the elections, my understanding is that he is ready to discuss, he is not going to rush into unilateral actions. I think he is ready to start negotiating with the European partners. I do not think it is likely that we will see a total cancellation of the austerity measures," Stella Ladi, member of the executive committee of the Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) of the UK's Political Studies Assocation told Sputnik.

    Speaking on his party's victory late Sunday night, Tsipras vowed to keep his election promises to put an end to the country's "painful" austerity plan, adopted by the previous government in Athens in return for the large cash loans from a "troika" of international creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

    "I think it is naive to believe that Syriza will be able to completely cancel the austerity measures, because this is exactly what would lead to a default, which is something that they know and they don't want. They have economists working with them who may have a different view on how things should have happened up to now, but they still know what radical actions could lead to," Ladi added.

    Albert Weale, professor of political theory and public policy at the University College London, noted that the low interest $146-billion loan Greece received from the troika in order to prevent a default on its large debt in 2010 has been "about as generous as you can get in terms of their long-dated maturities."

    "Greece actually gets quite a lot of benefits from Europe — in terms of structural funds and agricultural subsidiaries, not to mention the advantages of the ability of Greeks to move around within the European Union and the EU market… I do not think it will leave the European Union or the eurozone," Weale said.

    Speculating about other economic measures the new Greek government is likely to adopt, Weale mentioned tax reform promised by the country's finance minister, intended to pay for food stamps and electricity reconnection for those in need.


    Analysts cite the Greek population's overall weariness with the austerity regime as the general reason behind the rise of the far-left in Greece, as well as the high level of interdependence between the EU members behind the rise of other extreme movements across Europe.

    According to Stella Ladi, Syriza gained enormous popularity "exactly because of the difficulties of the last five years – the austerity measures and all the pressure that has been put on the Greek population. They have been the party that promises change, that promises less austerity measures. Greeks voted for them because they are tired of austerity," Ladi told Sputnik.


    Do you believe SYRIZA can fix Greek economy?
    • Yes, the EU fears Greece will exit the eurozone, so SYRIZA holds the cards.
      56.8% (715)
    • I don't believe in success of this particular party, but their victory marks the revival of Greece.
      20.0% (251)
    • No, their promises to reduce austerity are utopian and will not be accepted by the 'Troika'.
      14.2% (178)
    • No, nothing good has ever come from radicalism.
      9.0% (113)
    Voted: 1257
    Moreover, the party gained votes from former supporters of Greek socialist party PASOK, according to the expert. PASOK has been losing momentum due to its role in the government.

    "More generally, the extreme parties in times of crisis always manage to gain popularity. So, it is not unexpected," Ladi concluded.

    The tendency of the rise of anti-system movements is manifest not only in Greece, but also in other European countries, such as Germany (PEGIDA movement, Alternative for Germany) or Spain.

    "It is very difficult to see what causes of that are. The reason why we have a rise of these anti-system parties is that EU political system is much more integrated now than has been before. Obviously, the creation of the European market and the creation of the eurozone is a part of that. It is not surprising that you find opposition to this among European countries," Weale explained.

    Having failed to receive an absolute majority in the parliament, Syriza party has formed a coalition with the Independent Greeks, a nationalist right-wing party. Alexis Tsipras has been sworn in as the new prime minister of Greece and is expected to announce his cabinet later on Monday.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    austerity policy, parliamentary elections, Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, Greece
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