Greek former PM Tsipras seeks absolute majority in election
Greece's former prime minister said yesterday he was seeking an absolute majority for his radical left Syriza party in upcoming early elections but indicated a coalition government would be formed quickly if no party wins enough parliamentary seats to govern alone.
Alexis Tsipras resigned last month, triggering early elections set for September 20, barely eight months into his four-year term, following a rebellion by Syriza hardliners objecting to his agreement to tax hikes and spending cuts in return for a third international bailout.
Recent opinion polls show Syriza in a dead heat with the opposition New Democracy, but with neither winning enough seats to form a government alone, meaning a coalition will almost certainly be needed to prevent a new election.
"We are seeking an absolute majority," Tsipras said during a news conference at a trade fair in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. However, he said that if there was no outright winner, "Greece will be governed because nobody will take the responsibility of leaving the country ungoverned."
Tsipras came to power after winning January elections on promises to repeal the harsh austerity measures imposed for Greece's first two international bailouts by other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. But months of painful negotiations with creditors collapsed in June, with Tsipras calling a referendum and urging voters to reject the creditors' proposals for reforms.