The leader of the radical left in Greece has promised to end corruption there if his SYRIZA party wins this Sunday’s make-or-break election.
Polls show SYRIZA is running neck-and-neck with the conservative New Democracy party, or even a few point ahead of it.
In Athens, the 37-year-old told the media: “We’re not messianic heroes. But we’re going to take up our responsibilities and, democratically, build on the ruins left by the major parties.”
Riding a surge of anti-austerity anger, Tsipras promises a new era of government, for all the people of Greece.
He says he will tear up the international bailout agreement and yet keep Greece in the euro.
He pledges to re-establish a minimum wage and unemployment benefits, index household debt to income, erase taxes on middle and lower earners and raise them for the highest.
The left-wing SYRIZA party came a surprise second to the conservatives in May 6 elections that failed to produce a government.
With huge support among the young, SYRIZA won nearly 17 percent of the vote on a platform rejecting the 130 billion euro international rescue programme for Greece.
Tsipras has also promised to limit the number of ministers in a government he would form swiftly if he wins a mandate on Sunday – halving cabinet salaries, limiting others as well and breaking the links between politics and self-enrichment in Greece.
In a surprising side-note: German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine in May reported that Tsipras shocked the staff at the Berlin luxury Hotel Adlon when he ‘paid’ for minibar extras with a ‘joke’ credit card (‘Bad Bank of Greece’).
This left the Greek state to cover the bill, as Tsipras has been an MP since the May 6 election. The paper said this added spa treatment and 11 Toblerone chocolate bars, four packets of crisps, nine gins and seven tonics to the national debt.
It came to 449 euros and change.
He had been invited to the German capital for talks with related left-leaning parties.