Greece’s youngest political leader Alexis Tsipras delivered an electoral earthquake on Sunday by taking his radical Left Coalition party into second place in parliamentary elections.
Voters who are angry over swingeing austerity measures, dramatically rejected Greece’s two main parties which have dominated the country’s politics for decades.
Left Coalition leader Alesis Tsipras said: “ Our primary commitment at this time is that we will honour the mandate the people are giving us to do whatever is possible to make sure the country will have a government which will condemn the bailout agreement and will cancel austerity measures.”
Conservative Antonis Samaras and New Democracy may have topped the poll but his slashed support means he will struggle to form a workable coalition.
“ We are ready to take responsibility for forming a national salvation government with two specific objectives, that the country remains in the euro zone and the amendment of the policies of the bailout agreement so that there is growth and relief for the Greek people,” said Antonis Samaras.
Centre-left Pasok was dealt a humiliating blow by being driven into third place leaving leader Evangelos Venizelos calling for a broad coalition of pro-European parties:
“The possibility of a national unity government needs to be looked into. The constitution asks for it anyway. But this would have to happen with honesty, seriousness and with all speed.”
Pasok was in power when Greece negotiated its first bailout and was in coalition with new Democracy when it secured its second.
The election has left the country with a fragmented parliament and uncertainty over whether a government committed to the agreements can be formed.