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Greek lessons after Tsipras resigns

August 24th, 2015

Commentators across the political spectrum wonder whether Greek PM Tsipras’ decision to step down is a tactical stunt or an admission of failure. They also ponder its implications for sovereignty and austerity.

Irrespective of which party is in government in Greece, the country is effectively lead by Germany and other international creditors, Zoltán Kottász surmises in Napi Gazdaság. The conservative columnist thinks that despite his pledge to restore the sovereignty of Greece, Mr Tsipras was forced to go against the will of the Greek people and accept the third bailout package and the implied restrictions. In an aside, Kottász suggests that the example of Greece shows that EU integration threatens individual countries with the loss of democratic popular sovereignty. Concerning the future of the “Greek drama”, Kottász predicts that the snap election will be won by Tsipras’ Syriza again and the show can go on, as if nothing has happened.

Alexis Tsirpas has taken a surprise moveNépszabadság comments in a front page editorial. Although during his six months in office, Mr Tsipras fulfilled precious few of his promises and bowed to the pressure of Greece’s creditors, he has the courage to put his fate in the hands of voters, Népszabadság admits. He bought time for his country while brokering a deal with the EU on a third bailout, and Greece will now have an opportunity to decide about its future without triggering an imminent crisis, Népszabadság believes.

Népszava’s Tamás Rónay interprets PM Tsipras’ decision to step down and call snap elections as an acknowledgement of his own utter failure. Alexis Tsipras gained popularity in Greece and among European radical left-wing circles for rejecting austerity and further restrictions, but in the end, Mr Tsipiras failed to fulfil his promise and broker a favourable deal with Greece’s creditors without jeopardizing Greece’s membership in the monetary union, Rónay continues. He concludes that the main lesson of what he sees as PM Tsipras’ defeat is that there is no alternative to the politics of austerity and restrictions other than complete economic collapse.

In Magyar Nemzet, Roland Balogh maintains that there is nothing surprising in PM Tsipras’ decision to call for a snap election. Balogh recalls that rumours about him stepping down after brokering a deal with Greece’s creditors have been around for some time. Balogh suspects that Tsipras stands a chance to secure another victory in the September Parliamentary election even if his party breaks up and he gets rid of the more radical wing of Syriza that tried to oppose the third bailout agreement. In the end, Mr Tsipras may rebrand himself as a pro-reform politician, Balogh speculates. He is less than certain if a new government will be able to overcome Greece’s severe social and economic ills.

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