In Photos: Greeks Celebrate and Mourn the Country's Historic Left-Wing Election Win


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In Photos: Greeks Celebrate and Mourn the Country's Historic Left-Wing Election Win

Syriza's electoral victory was greeted with dancing and crying, joy and despair.

This post originally appeared on VICE Greece.

The Winners

Last night, in the streets of towns and cities across Greece, people of all ages sang, danced, and cried to the sounds of "Bella Ciao"—a song first sung in the early 20th century by Bologna's rice plantation workers, and later borrowed by Italian partisans fighting the fascist regime in the latter years of WWII. In 2015, it is now intrinsically linked to the formation of Greece's first-ever left-wing government. In Athens's Klafthmonos Square, the party began as soon as the first poll results were announced. Shortly after 11 PM, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the victorious Syriza party, arrived at Propylaea to give his victory speech. "Our victory is also a victory of all the people of Europe struggling against the austerity that is destroying our common European future," he said, as a sea of colorful flags waved triumphantly below him.

A few meters from the podium a group of Spanish and Italians chanted "Syriza, podemos, venceremos!"—a reference to the Spanish left-wing party Podemos that has been supporting Syriza for years. "The time of the left has finally come," said a group of young women standing next to me. In the moment, that felt quite profound.


Words by Antonis Diniakos

The Losers

Being asked to cover the much-anticipated defeat of not just a political party but supposedly a whole political system is a little awkward; it feels like there's a huge rave happening somewhere downtown but you are being forced to attend your great aunt's funeral instead. Sombre was the mood at the New Democracy headquarters last night.

Since Sunday morning, anxiety and frustration had been the most obvious emotions on people's faces at the party's offices on Syggrou Avenue. By the time the voting stations closed, the scenarios surrounding former prime minister Antonis Samaras's succession had already begun.

They say that real friends stand by you both in times of joy and sorrow, but turns out that is not the case when it comes to New Democracy's supporters: Few showed up for Samaras's farewell speech in Zappeio, and even fewer were those who applauded the former PM at the end of his era.

Words by Melpomeni Maragkidou

Dimitris Michalakis captured the celebrations. All the long faces belong to Panagiotis Maidis.