Syriza forms coalition with right-wing party
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as new Greek prime minister on Monday, just 21 hours after the voting booths closed, to lead a coalition with the Eurosceptic and right-wing populist Independent Greeks party. The impoverished middle classes have brought this unusual alliance to power, commentators write, and have doubts about whether the coalition can last.
Tsipras's government unstable
Forming a coalition with a small right-wing populist party will only increase the difficulties Greece's new prime minister Alexis Tsipras faces, the left-liberal daily Der Standard predicts: "Even without the enormous task of restructuring debt and mastering the economic crisis, this government takeover by the left would be difficult. It lacks experience in government and it poses a challenge for the institutions of the Greek state. A large section of the media is tied up with the two parties of the old system, Nea Dimokratia and Pasok. The police apparatus has seen the left as an opponent up to now. .... It's uncertain whether the ministerial bureaucracy will back Syriza even though the left enjoys the support of some public servants against whose dismissal it fought. There are likely to be conflicts with the Orthodox Church and over foreign policy priorities. Forming a coalition with a small right-wing populist party only makes things all the more difficult. Tsipras's government is of a new type, but it's not stable."
Absurd coalition against austerity
The coalition between the leftist alliance Syriza and the right-wing populist Independent Greeks party is based on no more than a common rejection of austerity, the conservative daily Večernji List comments: "It comes as no shock that the young Greeks whose lives and future are the most jeopardised by the crisis have voted in favour of the ultra-left Syriza. What is shocking is that much of the middle class that normally votes for the large moderate parties have also voted ultra-left. ... That explains the equally shocking fact that Syriza has chosen the Independent Greeks - a nationalist party on the right fringe of the political spectrum - as coalition partner. All they have in common is their opposition to the austerity measures. Apparently that's enough to forge a coalition that delves deep into the sphere of the inexplicable and the absurd. And it's also a sign to Angela Merkel, the mother of austerity so inspired by the frugality of German housewives.
Impoverished middle class made alliance possible
The impoverishment of Greece's middle class as a result of the rigid austerity measures is what has made the alliance between the left-wing coalition Syriza and the right-wing populist Independent Greeks party possible, writes the liberal daily La Stampa: "The unthinkable has become thinkable, and even a reality in Greece, where the contrast between right and left has been replaced by a different, more urgent contrast, namely that between a full and an empty stomach. ... The red-black alliance in Athens is the forbidden and poisonous fruit of European policies, or more precisely its non-policies. The social welfare state was the most extraordinary achievement of the postwar era. Its total destruction, which so far has occurred only in Greece, is impoverishing the middle class and creating social pre-revolutionary conditions. Because now the battle is between a privileged elite and a desperate people."
EU will make compromises
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday that there is little support for a Greek debt write-off. Before the elections Greece was warned but now the tone is calmer, the conservative daily Naftemporiki writes in satisfaction: "This small change shows a willingness for compromise. And let's not forget: compromise is part of the European Union's genetic make-up: it's how the EU moves and develops. ... Yes, the European leadership could demonstrate its good will and take steps to find a mutually advantageous solution for debt settlement and the conditions of the austerity programme. Presumably the focus of this compromise will not lie on a debt cut but on turning away from unrealistic goals such as primary surplus targets ranging from 4 to 4.5 percent of GDP by 2022."