The Volatile State of Greek Politics

Syriza's Struggles and the Risk of a Snap Election

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech at the ruling Syriza party central committee in Athens, Greece, February 11, 2017. Michalis Karagiannis / Reuters

Every year in early September, Greece kicks off its political season with an address from the prime minister at the start of the Thessaloniki International Fair. This year was no different. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras opened the event with an optimistic talk about the recovering economy, and how Greece would soon “graduate” from the bailout agreements. He claimed that his government had acquired valuable experience from overseeing austerity programs and had learned from its mistakes in managing the debt crisis. Thus, according to Tsipras, “now is not the time to entrust Greece’s fate to the opposition”—the parties that he claims created Greece’s continuing socioeconomic crisis.

A week later, as the fair neared its end, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the main opposition party, the center-right New Democracy (ND), rebutted Tsipras. The prime minister, his opponent argued, was not telling the Greek people the truth about the country’s

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