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

The victory of Alexis Tsipras' SYRIZA party was greeted with dancing and crying, joy and despair.

This post originally appeared on VICE Greece

The Winners

Last night, on 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 Mussolini's fascists. In 2015, it was to become intrinsically linked to the formation of Greece's first ever left-wing government. In Athens' Klafthmonos Square, the party began as soon as the first exit polls were announced. Shortly after 11PM, SYRIZA's winning leader, Alexis Tsipras, 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 sea of colourful flags waved triumphantly below him.

A few metres from the podium a group of Spanish and Italians chanted "SYRIZA, Podemos, Venceremos!" – in 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. Right then and there, that last sentence 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 down-town but you are being forced to attend your great-aunt's funeral instead. Sombre was the mood at the New Democracy headquarters last night.

Anxiety and frustration had been the most obvious emotions on people's faces at the party's offices in Syggrou Avenue since Sunday morning. By the time the voting stations closed, the scenarios surrounding former PM Antonis Samaras' 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' farewell speech in Zappeio, and even fewer were those who applauded the former Prime Minister at the end of his era.

Words by Melpomeni Maragkidou

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