Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party battered opponents in a snap general election as Greeks gave the 41-year-old leader a second chance to deal with the country's staggering debt and carry out major reforms aimed at modernizing its government and economy. Defying opinion polls, Tsipras comfortably beat the conservative New Democracy party to retain a coalition partnership with the small right-wing Independent Greeks party. "Under difficult conditions, the Greek people have given us a clear order to get rid of everything that kept us stuck in the past," he told supporters in central Athens last night. "It's a great victory, a clear victory, and a victory of the people."
In a sign of widespread discontent, however, more than four in 10 Greeks stayed away from the poll, and 7% of votes went to the third-place Golden Dawn, a party founded as a neo-Nazi movement in the 1980s. The vote was held as Greece struggles to cope with Europe's refugee crisis. It also faces further harsh austerity reforms as part of a massive, third international bailout that Tsipras was forced to adopt to keep the country in Europe's joint currency. Just seven months into his term, Tsipras lost his majority in parliament after far-left rebels in his party opposed tough new conditions demanded by eurozone countries for a euro rescue package. The rebels, who formed a breakaway party, failed to get elected to parliament.