The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates the radical left-wing party Syriza on its historic victory in the general election in Greece.
With 99.86% of polling stations counted, Syriza had won 36.34% of the votes which will give it 149 of seats out of 300 in parliament, just short of an overall majority but 9% above the vote main right-wing party New Democracy.
The wave of left-wing aances we have seen in South America in recent years has now swept into Europe, in a victory which could lead to a major shift to the left throughout the continent, where similar parties, like Podemos in Spain, are already building big support.
The vote was a categorical rejection of the former government’s policies of austerity and spending cuts which has left Greece with a massive crisis of unemployment and poverty. A quarter of its economy being wiped out, unemployment has risen above 25% and there has been an average drop in incomes of at least 30%.
Syriza leader and new Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, has promised to end the “five years of humiliation and pain” that Greece has endured since an international 240 billion euro bailout in 2010. ldquoreece will now move ahead with hope and reach out to Europe, and Europe is going to change. The verdict is clear: We will bring an end to the vicious circle of austerity.rdquo
The new government’s first priority is to renegotiate the brutal terms imposed by international creditors – which included deep cuts in public spending, wages and pensions, along with public sector layoffs and repeated tax increases.
The Syriza victory is already reported to be sending shockwaves through global markets, with fears that the election result could undermine the Euro, which immediately fell to its lowest since April 2003.
COSATU wishes the new government well and hopes that this victory will be a turning point in the struggle for socialism in Europe and around the world.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Fax: +27 11 339-6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions