Greek PM closes election campaign with message to Portugal and Spain

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has closed his sabre-rattling campaign ahead of tomorrow’s general election with strong words of encouragement to Portugal and Spain – both of which are next in line to go to the polls.

Stressing the result in Greece will be of “crucial importance” for progressive forces in Europe, he predicted that Sunday’s vote will be a renewed “no” to the “old and corrupt political system” which could translate into a “strong message for countries that are holding elections in 2015”, namely Portugal (October 4) and Spain (November 20).

Ireland too was in Tsipras’ mind, as it goes to the polls in April 2016.

“Imagine how important it will be if, from this point on, the Greek prime minister in Brussels is not only one against many, but has with him Pablo Iglesias from Spain, Gerry Adams from Ireland and a progressive prime minister from Portugal,” he told his audience of thousands in Athens’ Syntagma Square.

Pablo Iglesias was on the stage with Tspiras at the time, alongside left wingers from Germany and France.

In what Spanish news agency Efe termed a combative speech, Tsipras called for a strong mandate to contradict “the intention of the conservatives to convert our government into a parenthesis” of history.

He also warned against the undecided staying at home.

As the Irish Times reported earlier that day: “Of the 11 polls published on Thursday and yesterday, nine put Syriza (Tsipras’ party) ahead, one had New Democracy in the lead, and one was a tie”.

But how Tsipras’ message will be viewed in Portugal is uncertain.

The only force with any chance in toppling the centre-right coalition has been at pains not to align itself too closely with Tsipras’ rhetoric.

Speaking on TSF radio last week, PS Socialist leader António Costa said Syriza has taken the “wrong approach” in challenging the politics of austerity.

“Change is achieved through negotiation, not confrontation and not through unilateral declaration but via the framework of the European Union”, he told the station.

As America’s CNBC news reported last night, whatever happens in Greece tomorrow “this is a season of political change across Europe, and once the Greek election is out of the way, the next potential game-changing votes will come in Portugal and Spain”.

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