Greek leftist Tsipras sworn in as PM to fight bailout terms
Updated: 2015-01-27 09:40
ATHENS - Greek left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras was sworn in on Monday as the prime minister of a new hardline, anti-bailout government determined to face down international lenders and end nearly five years of tough economic measures.
The decisive victory by Tsipras' Syriza in Sunday's snap election reignites fears of new financial troubles in the country that set off the regional crisis in 2009. It is also the first time a member of the 19-nation euro zone will be led by parties rejecting German-backed austerity.
Tsipras' success is likely to empower Europe's fringe parties, including other anti-austerity movements across the region's economically-depressed south. The trouncing of the conservatives represents a defeat of Europe's middle-ground political guard, which has dallied on a growth-versus-budget discipline debate for five years while voters suffered.
Sporting his trademark no-tie look, the 40-year old Tsipras became the first prime minister in Greek history to be sworn in without the traditional oath on a Bible and blessing of basil and water from the Greek Archbishop.
At a brief secular ceremony where he pledged to uphold the constitution, Tsipras told President Karolos Papoulias: "We have an uphill road ahead." In a symbolic move, his first action as prime minister was to commemorate Greek resistance fighters with red roses at a memorial in Athens to those executed by Nazis.
Defying predictions that he would turn from populist to pragmatist after taking power, Tsipras quickly sealed a coalition deal with the small Independent Greeks party which also opposes Greece's EU/IMF aid programme.