MADRID – Greece’s major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras was the runaway choice of the European Left Party to be its nominee for European Commission President, a post he has virtually no chance of winning
Still, Tsipras – who critics said would lead Greece out of the Eurozone and threaten the financial bloc’s standing – got 84.1 percent support for one of the top jobs in Europe, which has four leaders: European Commission President, European Parliament President, European Council President and the rotating, powerless symbolic six-month EU Presidency which Greece will hold on Jan. 1.
Tspiras was chosen during the party’s Congress here. The post is now held by Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal, a Maoist as a college student but now backed by the right-wing European People’s Party. He is in a second term.
The European Left is essentially marginalized, holding only 35 seats, of 4.5 percent of the Vote in the European Parliament, making Tspiras’ nomination mostly symbolic as well. While his party is trading the lead in Greece with the New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the left in other European countries is largely irrelevant.
Tspiras though used the opportunity to rail against the political rivals of the far-left which he said is the only choice to what he called the “barbaric neo-liberalism,” and the rise of the right across Europe, according to euronews and the Athens News Agency.
“Either we stay motionless or we move forward. Either we consent to the neo-liberal status quo and pretend that the crisis can be resolved by policies that have recycled it, or we proceed to the future with the European Left,” he stressed, referring to the economic crisis gripping Greece as well as Portugal, Spain and Cyprus, and as Italy and Ireland have been coming out of one.
“The only alternative solution is the resistance of the peoples and strengthening the European Left,” he added.
Referring to Greece, Tsipras said the country provided daily proof that the austerity memorandums were “How-To” guides for poverty and economic control by the country’s creditors, which he said had triggered a humanitarian crisis in Greece unmatched in the post-WWII era.
He predicted that SYRIZA was “one step away from power,” saying that the European Parliament polls will repudiate the ruling coalition in Greece of New Democracy Conservative leader, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and his partner, the PASOK Socialists, and that it will be followed by Greek elections he said will sweep SYRIZA into power.
Tsipras opposes the austerity conditions attached to two bailouts of $325 billion from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) and said he doesn’t want Greece to repay the loans, although he hasn’t offered any economic solutions beyond criticism.
SYRIZA is just “a step away from power,” he said. “The time of the left has come. This is our time to change Europe, and we will do it,” he added. The leftists want the Commission President to be elected by European voters rather than nominated by the European Council and then approved by the European Parliament.