The Syriza leader championed an anti-austerity program to supporters ahead of Greece’s Jan. 25 elections.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said Saturday that the future for all of Europe lies in a Syriza victory in Greece. The leader made the statement during a rousing speech to party supporters at the two-day congress of the leftist party which began Jan. 3.
“The necessary change in Europe starts here, in Greece,” Tsipras said, linking the struggles of the working class people in his country with those throughout Europe. Tsipras predicts that the victory of Syriza in the upcoming Greek elections as the first for many anti-austerity parties in Europe, while specifically naming Podemos in Spain and Sinn Fein in Ireland.
The left-wing politician also outlined his party's political program, which has been named the National Reconstruction Plan. He stressed the Syriza's intention to renegotiate Greece's debt should it win the elections at the end of January.
“It is wrong for Greece to take out loans in order to repay loans. It is objectively necessary to put an end to this destructive spiral,” said Tsipras.
Greece has been forced by the European Central Bank, the IMF, and the European Commission — often referred to as the troika — to implement harsh austerity measures in exchange for emergency loans. The austerity measures are deeply unpopular with the Greek population.
Officials connected to the troika have stated that the deals signed by previous Greek governments are non-negotiable. Meanwhile, the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, suggested that a Syriza win would be the “wrong” choice.
Tsipras addressed this head-on, telling supporters, “Austerity must end; it is socially and economically necessary for it to end.” A Syriza government has promised to put an end to the austerity measures implemented by the right-wing New Democracy government that have hit the pocketbooks of the Greek people, in addition to weakening the country’s social safety net.
Tsipras promised to “address the humanitarian crisis” in the country by implementing programs to benefit the needs of the poorest, such as free electricity and food vouchers for low-income people and an increase in pensions to low income retirees.
The Syriza political program is also aimed at reinvigorating the Greek economy. Syriza hopes to spur job growth by raising the minimum wage and implement labor-friendly reforms. The political program of the party also includes political reforms aimed at what Tsipras called the “democratic reconstruction of the state.”