Athens - The day after Alexis Tsipras won in Greece for the second time in less than nine months, the prime minister has already indicated his new government's two priorities: reducing the debt with international creditors and economic stability. The leader of the leftist Syriza party, which on Sunday gained 35.47 percent of the vote and 145 seats, was sworn in as prime minister at 7 p.m. on Monday.
In the meantime, he has been working diligently to choose his ministers and programme. He aims to present his new team by Wednesday along with a list of priorities in black and white.
This hurry is also in response to EU urging: "We have much work to do and there is no time to lose," said European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his message of congratulations. "The immediate goal is the full restoration of stability in the economy and in banking," Mr Tsipras told his colleagues, according to reports from party members. But the "first crucial battle" would be to secure debt relief from the former troika. This was more concrete than the enthusiasm of Sunday night when, safely re-elected, he had hailed the "victory of the people", noting that Syriza was "hard to kill".
There are few new developments at the moment. It is clear that the alliance with the right-wing conservative Independent Greeks, who won 3.69 percent, will continue, as in the first term. It will give the prime minister the extra 10 seats needed for an absolute majority in the 300 member parliament. This decision has already caused some grumbling in the EU with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, openly criticising it. "It's politically and strategically something that you have to admire," he said. "But after ... this renewed mandate with this far-right, populist party, that I don't understand," he continued. The choice of the key figure - the finance minister - would also seem to signal continuity if, as reported by Syriza sources, Mr Tsipras is about to reappoint Euclid Tsakalotos, called in to replace the controversial Yanis Varoufakis, and who is more pragmatic and acceptable to his EU colleagues. Meanwhile, the European Union is keen to remind Greece that there is no time to waste. "The commission congratulates Alexis Tsipras for his victory," and is encouraged by the strongly pro-EU majority in parliament, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters. In addition to the victory of Syriza, which lost just four seats, the conservative New Democracy came in second with 28.09 percent and 75 seats. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn saw its support rise slightly to 6.99 percent and 18 seats, one more than in January. (AGI)