Alexis Tsipras

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Alexis Tsipras
Αλέξης Τσίπρας

MP
Alexis Tsipras die 16 Ianuarii 2012.jpg
Prime Minister of Greece
Incumbent
Assumed office
26 January 2015
President Karolos Papoulias
Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Deputy Yannis Dragasakis
Preceded by Antonis Samaras
Leader of the Opposition
In office
20 June 2012 – 26 January 2015
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Preceded by Antonis Samaras
Succeeded by Antonis Samaras
Leader of Syriza
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 October 2009
Preceded by Alekos Alavanos
Personal details
Born (1974-07-28)July 28, 1974 (age 40)
Athens, Greece
Political party Syriza
Domestic partner Peristera Batziana
Children 2
Alma mater National Technical University

Alexis Tsipras (Greek: Αλέξης Τσίπρας Greek pronunciation: [a.ˈle.ksis ˈt͡si.pras]; born 28 July 1974)[1] is a Greek politician, Prime Minister of Greece since 26 January 2015 and leader of Syriza since 2009.[2][3] He was first elected to the Greek Parliament in 2009, and was the Party of the European Left nominee for President of the European Commission in the 2014 European Parliament election. On 25 January 2015, Tsipras led SYRIZA to victory in a snap general election, receiving 36% of the vote and 149 out of the 300 seats in the Parliament and went on to become the 186th Prime Minister of Greece. In 2015 he was voted by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people globally.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Tsipras was born on July 28, 1974 in Athens. His family has its roots in a village near Babaeski in Eastern Thrace (European Turkey), which moved to Greece during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.[5] His father was born in Epirus.[6][7] His mother was born in Eleftheroupoli.[8]

He joined the Communist Youth of Greece in the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, as a student of Ampelokipoi Multi-disciplinary High School, he was politically active in the student uprising against the controversial law of Education Minister Vasilis Kontogiannopoulos. He rose to prominence as a representative of the student movement when he was featured as a guest on a television show hosted by journalist Anna Panagiotarea. During the interview, Panagiotarea implied that Tsipras was being disingenuous in defending middle and high school students' right to absenteeism without parental notification in the context of protests.[9]

He studied civil engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, graduating in 2000, before undertaking postgraduate studies in Urban and Regional Planning following an inter-departmental MPhil at the School of Architecture of NTUA. Alongside his postgraduate studies, he began working as a civil engineer in the construction industry. He wrote several studies and projects on the theme of the city of Athens.[9][10][11]

As a university student, he joined the ranks of the renascent left-wing movement, particularly the "Enceladus" (Greek: Εγκέλαδος) group, and as member of it was elected to the executive board of the students' union of the Civil Engineering School of NTUA, and also served as student representative on the University Senate. From 1995 to 1997 he was an elected member of the Central Council of the National Students Union of Greece (EFEE).[9]

Political career[edit]

After the departure of the Communist Party of Greece from Synaspismos, Tsipras remained in the coalition. In May 1999 he became the first political secretary of Synaspismos' youth-wing, the Synaspismos Youth. During this period he was described as a centrist, other than the very clear radical, left-wing profile he would later maintain as Leader of Synaspismos. In November 2003 he was succeeded by Tasos Koronakis and moved on to the mother party. He managed quite efficiently to maintain a strong adherence to the policy of the party, effectively outvoicing political deviants to the left and the right. As Secretary of Synaspismos Youth, he took an active part in the process of creating the Greek Social Forum and attended all of the international protests and marches against neoliberal globalization. In December 2004, at the 4th Congress of Synaspismos, he was elected a member of the party's Central Political Committee and consequently to the Political Secretariat, where he was responsible for educational and youth issues.[9]

Tsipras first entered the limelight of mainstream Greek politics during the 2006 local election when he ran for the municipality of Athens under the "Anoihti Poli" (Greek: Ανοιχτή Πόλη, "Open City") SYRIZA ticket that gained 10.51% of the Athenian vote.[9][12] He did not run for the Greek Parliament in the 2007 election, choosing to continue to complete his term as a member of the municipal council of Athens.

Alexis Tsipras giving his speech as a presidential candidate at the 5th Congress of Synaspismos.

He was elected Leader of Synaspismos during the 5th Congress on 10 February 2008, after previous Leader Alekos Alavanos decided not to stand again due to personal reasons.[13] Tsipras became Leader of Synaspismos at the age of 33, thus becoming the youngest ever leader of a Greek political party (after Nikos Zakhariadis, who became leader of Greek Communist Party in 1931 at the age of 28).. In the 2009 election, he was elected to the Greek Parliament for Athens A and was subsequently voted unanimously to be the head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group.[2][3] Tsipras led SYRIZA through the 2012 elections, overseeing a swing of over 22% to the party, and becoming the Leader of the Opposition.

Tsipras in Bologna holding a speech for The Other Europe allied party.

In December 2013 he was the first candidate proposed for the position of President of the Commission of the European Union by the Nordic Greens/European Left. The vote will be a EU member states election to the European Parliament in May 2014.

Tsipras was campaigning as the only candidate of the south periphery countries. At the beginning of May 2014, in a speech in Berlin, he clarified many of his positions, in opposition to the allegedly Merkel-dominated neo-liberal political course in Europe. Tsipras declared a substantial change for a better future for all Europeans is visible within 10 years. He addressed those who lost out in the fallout of the financial crises from 2008 to 2014, which produced unexpectedly high jobless rates in most of the EU. The speech was given in English to a German audience and probably intended to be listened to throughout Europe.[14]

Prime Minister of Greece[edit]

Alexis Tsipras laying down red roses at the Kaisariani Memorial.
Alexis Tsipras speaking on Subversive Festival 2013 in Zagreb

Tsipras led Syriza to victory in the general election held on 25 January 2015, falling short of an outright majority in Parliament by just two seats. The following morning, Tsipras reached an agreement with the right-wing populist Independent Greeks party to form a coalition.

On the same day he was sworn in by incumbent President Karolos Papoulias as the youngest Prime Minister in Greek history since 1865. Using the words "I declare in my name, honour and conscience to uphold the Constitution and its laws."[15] Tsipras was also the first prime minister to take a civil rather than a religious oath of office, marking a rupture with Greek orthodox ceremonial culture.[16] While reaffirming the good relations between his party and the Church, he generated further religious controversy by explaining to Archbishop Ieronymos in a meeting, that as an atheist who didn't marry in a religious ceremony nor baptised his children, he could not take a religious oath of office.[17]

The first act after being sworn in, Tsipras visited the Resistance Memorial in Kaisariani, laying down red roses to commemorate the 200 members of the Greek Resistance executed by the German Wehrmacht on 1 May 1944.[18]

During the first meeting of the new cabinet, Tsipras declared the priorities of his government to be the fight against the "humanitarian crisis" in Greece, negotiations with the EU and the International Monetary Fund on restructuring the Greek debt, and the implementation of promises made by SYRIZA such as the abolition of the previous government's privatization policies.[19]

On 3 February 2015, Tsipras made his first official trip, meeting with his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi in Rome. They held a joint press conference expressing concerns about austerity measures imposed by the European Commission and stated that economic growth is the only way to exit from the crisis. After the press conference, Renzi presented Tsipras with an Italian tie as a gift. Tsipras, who was notable for refusing to ever wear a tie, thanked Renzi and said that he would wear the gift in celebration when Greece had successfully renegotiated the austerity measures.[20]

On 20 February, the Eurogroup came to an agreement with Greece to extend the Greek bailout for four months.[21] Tsipras has also announced a trip to Moscow on 8 April, in a bid to secure Russian support.[22]

On 31 May, Tspiras laid out his complaints and outlined his plan in a recap of events since his election. He concluded that there were at least two competing visions for the integration of Europe, both of which he seemed to reject, and that certain unnamed institutional actors had "an obsession" with their own technocratic programme.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Tsipras is not married. His registered partner is Peristera Batziana, an electrical and computer engineer. The two met in 1987, when 13, at the Ampelokipoi Branch High School. Both eventually became members of the Communist Youth of Greece. They live together in Athens with their two sons.[24] Their youngest son's middle name is Ernesto, a tribute to Che Guevara. Tsipras is an avid football fan and, having grown up near the stadium, supports Panathinaikos, attending every home game that he can.[7] Tsipras is a self-described atheist,[25][26] making him (as of 2015) among the four publicly recognized atheist heads of government and state in the European Union, along with French President François Hollande, Czech President Miloš Zeman, and Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What You Need To Know About Alexis Tsipras, The Greek Leader Who Wants To Change Europe". Huffington Post. 
  2. ^ a b Ανανέωση αλλά και ηχηρές απουσίες στη νέα Βουλή. ANA-MPA (in Greek). 9 October 2006. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Alexis Tsipras to head SYRIZA Parliamentary group". Athina 9.84 Municipal Radio (athina984.gr). 8 October 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Time 100 - Alexis Tsipras, by Pablo Iglesias - time.com". Alexis Tsipras | TIME. April 16, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Dünyanın konuştuğu Yunan lider Çipras, Babaeskili çıktı". Hürriyet. Retrieved 2015-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Αλέξιος Παύλου Τσίπρας : ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΣ ΤΗΣ Κ.Ο. ΤΟΥ ΣΥΝΑΣΠΙΣΜΟΥ ΡΙΖΟΣΠΑΣΤΙΚΗΣ ΑΡΙΣΤΕΡΑΣ ΒΟΥΛΕΥΤΗΣ Α' ΑΘΗΝΩΝ" (in Greek). Hellenic Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Andy Denwood (14 May 2012). "Profile: Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza". BBC News. 
  8. ^ Apostolidis, Tasos (28 November 2007). Αλέξης Τσίπρας: "Καβαλιώτης" και μόλις 33 Μαΐων το φαβορί για την ηγεσία του ΣΥΝ. KavalaNet (in Greek) (kavalanet.gr). Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Alexis Tsipras". Synaspismos. syn.gr. Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  10. ^ Σχόλιο Γραφείου Τύπου του ΣΥΝ για τις προσωπικές επιθέσεις εναντίον του Προέδρου του ΣΥΝ – Επισύναψη επιστολών (in Greek). syn.gr. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Αλέξης Τσίπρας (in Greek). enet.gr. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  12. ^ "Coalition selects A. Tsipras for Athens mayorship". ANA-MPA. Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  13. ^ "Tsipras new SYN leader, new CPC elected". ANA-MPA (ana.gr). Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  14. ^ http://www.alexistsipras.eu/index.php/8-news/163-tsipras-to-speak-at-die-linke-party-congress-in-berlin
  15. ^ "Greek Elections: Alexis Tsipras sworn in as the new Greek Prime Minister". newsit.gr. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "A courteous distance". The Economist. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Tsipras explanation to Archbishop over lack of religious oath of office". Proto Thema. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  18. ^ Helena Smith (26 January 2015). "Alexis Tsipras pays homage to Greek communists at site of Nazi atrocity". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  19. ^ ""Ανατροπές παντού -Αλλάζουν όλα σε ΔΕΗ, Παιδεία, Δημόσιο, ιδιωτικοποιήσεις" (Total recall - Everything changes in Public Power Corp., Education, Public Sector and privatizations)". http://www.iefimerida.gr. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Tsipras, il tour anti-austerità a Roma. Padoan: "Crescita priorità per la Grecia"
  21. ^ "Eurozone chiefs strike deal to extend Greek bailout for four months". http://www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "Isolated Greece pivots east to Russia, China and Iran. But will it work?". http://www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 Apr 2015. 
  23. ^ lemonde.fr: "Alexis Tsipras : « Non à une zone euro à deux vitesses »", 31 May 2015
  24. ^ Έγινε πατέρας ο Αλέξης Τσίπρας (in Greek). cosmo.gr. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  25. ^ Smith, Helena (18 September 2014). "Pope Francis the 'pontiff of the poor', says Greece's Alexis Tsipras". The Guardian. Alexis Tsipras – a radical leftist and self-described atheist 
  26. ^ "Greece's far left: The company he keeps". The Economist. 4 October 2014. Mr Tsipras, an atheist 
  27. ^ "These are the religious beliefs of Europe’s leaders—including the atheists". Retrieved 28 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Antonis Samaras
Leader of the Opposition
2012–2015
Succeeded by
Antonis Samaras
Preceded by
Antonis Samaras
Prime Minister of Greece
2015–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alekos Alavanos
Leader of SYRIZA
2009–present
Incumbent