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Tsipras Rated Most Populist Leader, Even Ahead of Maduro

The National Herald

FILE - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his opening speech at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, FEB. 20, 2019. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari)

They are kindred spirits but Greek Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who reneged on anti-austerity promises and vows to bring a Leftist revolution across Europe, was tied in a poll as the most populist leader with Hungarian far-right Premier Viktor Orban.

That was in a survey by the British newspaper The Guardian that saw Tsipras most even more popular than one his political heroes and a man he tries to model himself after, Venezuelan strongman President Nicolas Maduro, scorned by all European Union countries - except Greece.

Maduro was condemned and sanctioned by the United States for a repressive regime riddled with corruption, violence against protesters and barring humanitarian aid although SYRIZA praised him for having a “Bolivarian Democracy,” although there is runaway inflation, hunger and people standing in lines for basic foodstuffs.

The survey was entitled How Populist Were These Politicians on the Stump? the formerly hard left Greek premier, who has made a sharp turn to the right to stay inpower, edged out Maduro but ranked with Orban, who is viciously anti-immigrant and seen as corrupt.

The Guardian noted that "...Tsipras' sky-high score seems a product of the timing of his speeches – the 2015 election, prior to his capitulation to the lenders that bailed out the Greek economy; by all accounts, he moderated his language since,” without mentioning Orban’s populism has come after that period.

In February, as he had railed against populist right-wing governments in the European Union, Tsipras made Greece the second-most populist country in the bloc, a previous survey showed.

Greece was behind only Hungary, with Tsipras’ administration seen being as repressive from the left side  in terms of “authoritarian populism,” according to this year’s Authoritarian Populism Index, compiled by Sweden’s Timbro think tank.

According to its website, the Timbro Authoritarian Populism Index is the “only Europe-wide comprehensive study that aims to shed light on whether populism poses a long-term threat to European liberal democracies.”

The annual study was presented in Athens by the Center  for Liberal Studies – Markos Dragoumis (KEFiM) said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

The Swedish think tank noted Greece is one of four EU member-states where the government is comprised only of populists, while populist parties – on the right or left – collected more than 50 percent of the votes in the last general election, September 2015.

Tsipras and his party took power in January, 2015 on the back of anti-austerity pledges and promises to drive out international creditors before he reneged on both, seeing him plummet in polls with elections coming this year.