Leftists Sweep to Power in Greece

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Syriza May Not Have Enough Support to Form a Government on Its Own.

Greek voters were set to hand power to a radical leftist party in national elections on Sunday, a popular rebellion against the bitter economic medicine Greece has swallowed for five years and a rebuke of the fellow European countries that prescribed it.

Votes were being tallied into the night, but a government projection gave about half the seats in Parliament to the opposition party Syriza, with a chance it could have outright control.

“Today the Greek people have written history,” Syriza’s young leader and likely new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said in his victory speech late Sunday. “The Greek people have given a clear, indisputable mandate for Greece to leave behind austerity.”

A victory by Syriza would be an astonishing upset of Europe’s political order, which decades ago settled into an orthodox centrism while many in Syriza describe themselves as Marxists. It would embolden the challenges of other radical parties, from the right-wing National Front in France to the newly formed left-wing Podemos party in Spain, and it would set Greece on a collision course with Germany and its other eurozone rescuers.

Within minutes of the close of the polls, Germany’s powerful central-bank chief, Jens Weidmann, pushed back.

“It is clear that Greece will remain dependent on support and it’s also clear that this aid will be provided only when it is in an aid program,” he said in an interview with television broadcaster ARD.

A message on U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron ’s usual Twitter account, meanwhile, warned that the Greek result will “increase economic uncertainty across Europe.”

Mr. Tsipras staked his campaign on resistance to the policies of fiscal austerity—budget cuts and tax increases—demanded by Germany in return for a €240 billion ($269 billion) bailout, and many Greek voters embraced him.

“Europe is self-destructing,” said Polyxeni Konstantinou, a 56-year-old public-sector worker voting in central Athens. “I voted for Syriza because I hope that it will help change the tragic circumstances that now govern Europe.

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