Syriza wins in Greece
The left-wing coalition Syriza has emerged as the clear winner of the elections in Greece but appears to have fallen short of an absolute majority. Party leader Alexis Tsipras has announced the end of the austerity policy in Greece, but indicated his readiness to negotiate with the country's creditors. This is the end of austerity in Europe, some commentators write. Others predict that Tsipras will in fact excel at cutting costs.
An end to austerity in Europe
Alexis Tsipras's election victory in Greece spells the end of the austerity policy, the state-owned liberal daily Wiener Zeitung believes: "This is a turning point for Europe. Italy's social democratic leader Renzi also says that the austerity policy must come to an end. And Europe's social democrats will take a very close look at the election result in Greece. The first reaction of Gianni Pitella, president of the political group of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, was two words: stop austerity. Just situating Tsipras and Syriza in the communist corner is too simple. Firstly there is hardly a single head of government on the European Council who can present such an election result, and that alone gives Tsipras legitimacy. Secondly Tsipras will get the social democrats thinking. ... Europe is therefore facing some difficult decisions. The question of whether to extend the Greek bailout programme is of secondary importance here."
A new era for Greece
Alexis Tsipras will revolutionise Greek politics if he can reach an agreement with the troika, the left-liberal daily To Vima predicts: "In that case he'll be the absolute ruler. No party or leadership could ignore that. ... Moreover, it can't be overlooked that at 40, Tsipras is Europe's youngest prime minister. He's sure to bring other young politicians into the political arena, as he made clear when he appealed to young academics and scientists who have left the country to return home. The desire for renewal will now be the order of the day in Greek political life. There can be no doubt: this is the dawn of a new era."
Syriza will drag Greece backwards
It would be absolute madness if Syriza really did implement its election programme, the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter comments, with little hope that a coalition partner can have a moderating effect: "All the cuts and laboriously pushed-through reforms are to be done away with, salaries and pensions brought back to pre-crisis levels, privatisations stopped and reversed, large swathes of the population are to receive free electricity and medical help, and all public employees who have been laid off are to get their old jobs back (in the company of ten thousand new recruits). ... And this will all be paid for with hot air: the utopian idea that the widespread tax fraud can be stopped. Syriza would certainly restore one thing: an economy in the process of disintegration. ... Perhaps a coalition partner could restrain such recklessness. However one third of Syriza's members are communists who want to take the alliance even further to the left."
Tsipras will tell uncomfortable truths
Out of pure necessity election winner Alexis Tsipras will be the leader who pushes through unpleasant reforms in Greece, the conservative daily Die Welt suspects: "It will be up to the gifted populist Tsipras to confront the Greeks, too many of whom still refuse to see reality, with some unpleasant truths. The most important truth is that Greece is broke, and if it can't find any new sponsors Tsipras will have to give in and go to the troika for help. ... Another factor in Tsipras's favour is that the people trust him. Unlike the established parties he is not seen as a puppet of the foreign creditors - also because of his blocking tactics towards Brussels and Berlin. Who, if not Tsipras, can push through the necessary reforms against all the opposition?"
Hollande can be referee in austerity dispute
France's President François Hollande must play a decisive role in the search for a compromise between Greece and the EU, the left-liberal news magazine L'Obs demands: "The upcoming negotiations will be crucial for Greece and fundamental for Europe. They are set to be bitter: Angela Merkel's CDU has already set its terms in an extremely brutal manner by indicating that preparations must be made for a possible Greek exit from the Eurozone. Here François Hollande holds a real trump in his hand. He's in the centre of the political chess board between Germany - which insists on stringent monetary discipline - and Greece, Spain and the other countries where the wind of change is blowing. The chance of seeing the euro take on a more human, social face now depends on the stance he takes."