New Greek PM sworn in

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras

Tsipras, 40, clinches coalition deal.

Alexis Tsipras, the 40-year-old leader of antiausterity party Syriza, was sworn in yesterday as Greek prime minister, the youngest in 150 years.

Tsipras – wearing a blue jacket and white shirt, characteristically without a tie – also broke with tradition by taking a civil instead of a religious oath.

Tsipras’s party took more than 36% of the vote in Sunday’s general election, becoming the first elected movement in Europe openly opposed to austerity.

The leftists plan to challenge the multibillion-euro EU-IMF bailout, which they say has sparked a humanitarian crisis in Greece.

They won 149 seats – two short of the required 151seat majority – but covered the shortfall through an alliance with nationalist party Independent Greeks.

Renewed fears that Greece could be forced out of the eurozone if it defaults on its debt repayments saw the euro briefly hit an 11-year low against the dollar while Greek stocks also sank early yesterday.

Tsipras’s victory is likely to empower Europe’s fringe parties, including other antiausterity movements across the region’s economically depressed southern rim.

-Renee Maltezou and Deepa Babington

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