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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Person of the week
Boyish prime minister out to restore Greek dignity
     2015-January-30  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    ALEXIS TSIPRAS is on a mission to restore Greece’s dignity after being sworn in Monday, becoming his country’s youngest prime minister in 150 years.

    The 40-year-old father of two children brings to the job a burning passion to dump the austerity policies that his party says have brought a “humanitarian crisis” to Greece, and he knows he has little time to lose.

    “It would be good to speed up the procedure because we have an uphill road ahead,” he told President Karolos Papoulias as he received his mandate to form a government.

    On his first day as prime minister, Tsipras showed he is big on symbolism.

    His first act following his investiture was to lay flowers at the Kaisariani shooting range in Athens, where dozens of Greek leftists were executed by German occupation troops in 1944.

    Tsipras also became the first Greek prime minister to take a civil rather than religious oath of office, and to dispense with a tie at the ceremony.

    The decisive victory by Tsipras’ Syriza in Sunday’s snap election reignites fears of new financial troubles in the country that set off the regional crisis in 2009. It is also the first time a member of the 19-nation euro zone will be led by parties rejecting German-backed austerity.

    His success is likely to empower Europe’s fringe parties, including other anti-austerity movements across the region’s economically depressed south. The trouncing of the conservatives represents a defeat of Europe’s middle-ground political guard, which has dallied on a growth-versus-budget discipline debate for five years while voters suffered.

    Defying predictions that he would turn from populist to pragmatist after taking power, Tsipras quickly sealed a coalition deal with the small Independent Greeks party which also opposes Greece’s EU/IMF aid program.

    The Greek public first learned his name in 1990 when as a 17-year-old he led a school sit-in and told a TV interviewer: “We want the right to judge for ourselves whether to skip class.”

    An engineer by training, Tsipras was born in an Athens suburb in July 1974, a fateful year for Greece. It marked the collapse of a seven-year army dictatorship that mercilessly persecuted leftists and Communists, and culminated in a bloody crackdown against a student uprising.

    The boyish father who admires Che Guevara — naming his second son Orpheus Ernesto — has subtly modified his image as power and responsibility beckoned.

    He has made efforts to improve his English and sought to boost his international standing through meetings with Pope Francis, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and even Wolfgang Schaeuble, finance minister of Greece’s fiscal nemesis Germany.

    One thing has not changed — Tsipras’ shirts are likely to remain open-necked. On the eve of voting, he joked, “I’ll put a tie on when we get a haircut (debt reduction).”

    Tsipras faced his first crisis in 2008 when Athens and other cities were rocked by youth riots following the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by a policeman.

    Syriza gave the rioters political backing but the move backfired and in the next election the party took less than 5 percent of the vote.

    But when the economic crisis engulfed Greece in 2010, plunging the country into the worst recession in memory, voters were more inclined to listen to Syriza.

    He has accused the conservative-led coalition government of “denying reality” by “dogmatically” adhering to a failed austerity recipe that has left over 1 million people unemployed in a country of 11 million.

    In three years, Syriza’s support has increased five-fold.

    The outgoing conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras have argued that a Syriza government would overturn years of painful fiscal efforts just as Greece is about to reap the benefits.

    But Tsipras turned the argument on its head, wondering how the conservatives could possibly promise to safeguard Greek incomes after imposing a barrage of taxes in the last two years.

    “The only thing they have not said is that Syriza will round up children and steal wives,” he joked at one rally.

    Syriza pledges to raise salaries and pensions, halt layoffs and freeze the privatization of state assets, reversing key reforms demanded by Greece’s EU-IMF creditors.

    Even more crucially for its relations with Greece’s EU peers, the party wants to renegotiate the 240-billion-euro (US$269 billion) EU-IMF bailout, erase over 50 percent of the country’s enormous debt and divert bond repayment funds to the country’s economic recovery.

    Tsipras joined the Young Communists Society in the 1980s and by 1991 at the age of 17 organized the occupation of his high school in protest at education reforms.

    Pupils ate and slept at the school and he told an interviewer at the time: “We want the right to judge for ourselves whether to skip class.”

    He went on to university to study to become a civil engineer, where he continued his political rise.

    In 2008 at the age of 34 he became the leader of the Syriza party, which was formed in 2004 as a coalition of left-wing groups ranging from the Maoists to the Greens.

    Hailed for his no fear, firebrand approach and commitment to an anti-austerity agenda, he led the party to take a 27-percent vote share in the 2012 general election. It made Syriza the second-biggest party in the Greek parliament.

    He doesn’t like ties. Simple as that. Doesn’t wear them, won’t wear them.

    When asked about it recently, he said, “If you haven’t seen me wearing a tie until now, I doubt that you will as prime minister.”

    Ahead of the 2012 election his predilection for motorbikes, rather than the limos favored by other party leaders, was much-documented. However, it has been noted that he is more likely seen in the family car these days.

    Critics have described Tsipras as “power-hungry,” suggesting he would sacrifice Greece for his own political ambitions.(SD-Agencies)

    Key Facts

    Tsipras has transformed an obscure, far-left fringe party into the strongest force in Greek politics today, propelled largely by a wave of anti-austerity anger that has pushed up poverty and unemployment in Greece.

    He assumed office at the age of 40, making him one of Greece’s youngest-ever prime ministers. He has shown a desire to break from the past, becoming the first prime minister to take a civil rather than Biblical oath during his swear-in ceremony, where he showed up without a tie.

    A civil engineer by training, Tsipras has been involved in leftist politics from his student days, when he was a member of the Communist youth. He became leader of Syriza in 2008 and was elected to parliament in 2009.

    Tsipras has railed against austerity and the 240-billion-euro bailout program backed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund that he says has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Greece. He has also worried European partners and financial markets with a demand that a big chunk of Greek debt should be written off.

    His fierce anti-austerity stance prompted German magazine Der Spiegel to name him among the most dangerous men in Europe in 2012. He has since moderated some of the rhetoric and insisted he wants to keep Greece in the euro.

    Tsipras is not married, but lives with his partner with whom he has two sons.

    Key Facts

    Tsipras has transformed an obscure, far-left fringe party into the strongest force in Greek politics today, propelled largely by a wave of anti-austerity anger that has pushed up poverty and unemployment in Greece.

    He assumed office at the age of 40, making him one of Greece’s youngest-ever prime ministers. He has shown a desire to break from the past, becoming the first prime minister to take a civil rather than Biblical oath during his swear-in ceremony, where he showed up without a tie.

    A civil engineer by training, Tsipras has been involved in leftist politics from his student days, when he was a member of the Communist youth. He became leader of Syriza in 2008 and was elected to parliament in 2009.

    Tsipras has railed against austerity and the 240-billion-euro bailout program backed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund that he says has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Greece. He has also worried European partners and financial markets with a demand that a big chunk of Greek debt should be written off.

    His fierce anti-austerity stance prompted German magazine Der Spiegel to name him among the most dangerous men in Europe in 2012. He has since moderated some of the rhetoric and insisted he wants to keep Greece in the euro.

    Tsipras is not married, but lives with his partner with whom he has two sons.

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