But SYRIZA plan has only a slim chance of success

Following a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, who delivered the mandate to Alexis Tsipras of SYRIZA to try and form a government in Greece, the 38-year-old politician said it was “a historic moment for the left and a great challenge for me.”

Tsipras soon afterwards met with Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis. The veteran Kouvelis said later he will support second-placed Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in an anti-memorandum coalition government.

“I told Mr. Tsipras that he has the potential to proceed with a government of the left with the support of Democratic Left,” said Kouvelis. Earlier Tsipras spoke on the telephone with Greek Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga, who turned down the chance of a face-to-face meeting.

The SYRIZAS five point plan laid out by Tsipras isn’t going to go down well in Berlin-sur-Brussels:

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers’ rights, such as the abolition of collective labour agreements.

* The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system.

* An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock.

* The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece’s public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.

Equally, it isn’t going to go down well with the IIF’s Charles Dallara, many of whose members are hereby being served notice that Tsipras will be on their case regarding the question of how Greece wound up in so much debt in the first place. I would also imagine that one or two senior Goldman Sachs partners are making good use of the executive bathrooms there at the minute.

Tsipras has indicated that he will use the full three days at his disposal to talk with all the party leaders – including those of New Democracy and PASOK – barring Chrysi Avgi, the leader of neo-Nazi Party Golden Dawn. That, if nothing else, is encouraging.

We must, however, put this attempt into some kind of realistic perspective. To say that Alexis Tsipras has a mountain to climb here is a bit like saying Evangelo Venizelos needs to eat fewer pies. Not only would his plans collapse the euromarkets if he was able to form a government, the chances are he won’t be able to. He still has well under 100 seats, and without the cooperation of the KKE Communists, the only path left open to him is to break off the more nationalist MPs among the PASOK and New Democracy ranks, while perhaps getting the tacit support of those occupying Independent Greeks’ 33 seats.

That’s a tall order. But at least he’s having a go – which is more than can be said for the risible performance of Antonis Samaras yesterday.