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Press reacts to Syriza's European election performance

Media split along same pre-election lines

Pro-government media concedes result was a rebuke to the government but insists that it also ensures stability; media more sympathetic to the left hailed the fact that it was the first time a leftwing (as opposed to a socialist) party ever took first place in a nationwide election

'Left for the first time,' declares Eleftherotypia's (R) headline. (Photo: Reuters) 'Left for the first time,' declares Eleftherotypia's (R) headline. (Photo: Reuters) Syriza's crystal-clear victory at the polls found the media split along the same political lines that they had adopted during a bitter campaign. The pro-government media conceded that the result was a rebuke to the government, but they insisted that it also ensures stability and prevents Syriza from seeking to topple the government.

Those more sympathetic to the left and its anti-memorandum platform hailed the fact that it was the first time a leftwing (as opposed to a socialist) party ever took first place in a nationwide election, and they also trumpeted the fact that Syriza seized the country's largest governorship, Attica, where Rena Dourou beat out government backed incumbent Giannis Sgouros.

Conservative Kathimerini, with an editorial entitled "No to adventure", said that citizens expressed their displeasure with all that transpired in recent years, but they did not give "true momentum" to the main opposition. The lead says that the results ensure stability – by preventing Syriza from toppling the government – and they warn that "possible spasmodic reactions" to yesterday's result could prove "fateful for the course of the country". That means that if elections are held, all hell may break loose. A message to the government without a vote to topple it read the banner headline.

The Syriza-linked daily Avyi in its headline trumpeted an "historic victory" of the left and described the election as a "milestone in the political history of Greece". "Historic victory for Syriza, renunciation of ND [New Democracy]" was the headline of the editorial, which said ND and Pasok combined lost 11 percentage points compared to the 2012 general elections. "Citizens rejected the memorandum policies of the Samaras-Venizelos government, which is crushing the country and labour. The crisis of legitimation regarding memorandum policies is glaring," it wrote. It mocked Samaras and Venizelos for claiming they got the [protest] message, as "everyone in the country knows they will continue on the same course". The paper touted the Attica governorship victory of Rena Dourou (in a region that comprises about one third of Greece's population) as a weathervane presaging broader regional support for Syriza in the future.

"Left for the first time" declared Eleftherotypia, which carried an editorial entitled "The vote (truly) has a colour". It blasted the government for trying to downplay Syriza's victory by arguing that Syriza's margin was smaller than desired. It said it was the left's first top spot victory in a nationwide election and that results show voters want a radical policy change. "The left got a mandate to continue its course so as to take the steering wheel of the country into its hands … with threshed out positions and clear prospects," it wrote.

"First time for the left" trumpeted the left-leaning Efimerida ton Syntakton, which also bemoaned the "nightmare percentages" garnered by Golden Dawn, which alarmed society and politicians. "European victory of the left" was the title of the headline, which saw broader EU-wide repercussions from the Syriza win. It said Samaras and Venizelos were the big losers, and Samaras admitted as much in pledging to redress injustices. But it blasted Samaras' post-electoral remark that he averted a nightmare, meaning a big Syriza win that would force elections, as that suggested that the premier didn't get the message. "He considers it a nightmare that possibly a democratic party of the left, which completely respects the law and constitution, could win, while at the same time he utters not a word about the shameful Golden Dawn of Nazism and fascism, which managed to garner 10% of the vote, with the tacit consent of the state and parastate towards its criminal activity," it wrote. The paper said there will be many political developments in the immediate future that will lead ineluctably to national elections.

"A message to all" was Ethnos' take on the polls, as if everyone were equally punished. In a headline entitled "Solutions and convergences," the paper said the message is that parties must cooperate to solve problems, as none wields an absolute majority at the moment. It said that ND's defeat is "manageable", despite the party's big drop since 2012, and that ND-Pasok can continue to rule if it "takes the right moves to defuse the popular anxiety", whatever that means. It said that Syriza won the elections but lost the referendum it had asked for, because it lacks a comprehensive economic programme and the political alliance needed to forge a ruling coalition.

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