Tsipras Promises A New Greece

Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan.
Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. "Today the Greek people have made history. Hope has made history," Tsipras said in his victory speech at a conference hall in central Athens. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The final election result has just been announced, late at night, and Alexis Tsipras is on his way to Propylaea for his scheduled victory speech. With slightly trembling hands, he opens the blue folder he has in front of him and takes out the speech he has prepared for the occasion. His speech is encouraging and carefully worded as he knows that every word will be placed under the microscope. He concludes and steps away. The crowds below rejoice and dance. Tsipras suddenly turns on his heel and shouts: "the people have a right to celebrate and dance, they deprived us of this for five years."

Regardless of whom one supports or votes for, over the past five years Greeks have lived their lives feeling at best worried and numb in the midst of uncertainty, and at worst penniless and without any sense of security or prospects. As a friend pointed out, it is as if we have been condemned to living within the confines of a hospital room, holding the bedridden patient's hand.

We saw the first memorandum being signed hastily, just before we went bankrupt, we saw our lives become dependent on the Troika's will to let us have the next dose of drugs that would keep the patient alive. We are a proud and hard-working people who saw our lives change abruptly, with the introduction of strict austerity measures.

The new Prime Minister is promising to change all that. Or to try to change it, both domestically and abroad. Domestically, he is presented with a unique opportunity, because people seem to be on his side. The Huffington Post's exit polls showed that 55 percent of Greece believes a government with Syriza as its core will be better placed to negotiate on a political and economic level. He has a political opportunity before him, as it will be some time before New Democracy, the main opposition party, will regroup and reorganize itself.

Economic restrictions are still stifling. The new government's finance team will probably have to ask for an extension of the bailout deal, in order to give itself time for renewed negotiations, as the new government claims it is going to do. But we do not yet know what the reaction from foreign lenders will be. EuroGroup ministers speak of a relentless struggle between market powers. They believe the economic crisis is so big it could "gobble up" the next Prime Minister.

We do not yet know whether Europe itself or the whole of Europe wants to change. It has become quite clear over the past few years that Europe's economic foundations are fragile. What we do not know is whether the "slice of Europe that is changing will meet with the other peoples of Europe," as the new Prime Minister said in the speech he gave at Propylaea square. Greek history has shown that new political powers and ideas surface when the country comes out of a crisis. We do not know yet what point we are at, but what is certain is that we are going through a transition phase. So perhaps the phrase from Alexis Tsipras speech that was little commented upon but which should stick in our minds for the time being, is this: "Greece is asking for space and time."

This post originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.