originally published at BBC
Alexis Tsipras: “The people gave a clear mandate for us to continue to battle in and out of the country”
Alexis Tsipras has hailed a “victory of the people” after his left-wing Syriza party won Greece’s fifth election in six years.
He said Greeks faced a difficult road and that recovery from financial crisis would only come through hard work.
The conservative New Democracy party earlier conceded defeat.
With 60% of votes counted, Syriza is projected to be just short of a majority but the Independent Greeks have agreed to join a coalition.
The latest figures give Syriza 35% of the vote, compared with New Democracy’s 28%. The far-right Golden Dawn is set to be the third biggest party, with 7.1% of the vote.
The snap election was called after Syriza lost its majority in August. This followed the signing of an unpopular new financial bailout deal with international creditors.
Turnout in this poll was just over 55%, down from 63% in January and low by Greek standards.
Mr Tsipras said his decision to call an early election was vindicated and that he had been given a clear mandate.
He told thousands of jubilant supporters in central Athens: “In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity, and this struggle will be continued together for another four years.
New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis offered his congratulations to Mr Tsipras
“We have difficulties ahead, but we are also on firm ground. We won’t recover from the struggle by magic, but it can happen with hard work.”
Mr Tsipras was joined on stage by Panos Kammenos, leader of the the nationalist Independent Greeks, who also entered a coalition with Syriza after the previous election in January.
“Together we will continue the struggle we began seven months ago,” Mr Tsipras said.
Analysis: Richard Galpin, BBC News, Athens
The process of creating a new government will start later today or on Monday.
It will be a carbon copy of the previous administration led by Mr Tsipras which was elected last January and resigned in August after dozens of its own MPs rebelled over the signing of a new bailout deal which included more harsh austerity measures.
Implementing those measures will be one of the first steps the new government will have to take to ensure the bailout money continues to be handed over to Greece.
In October, European officials are due to review the progress being made by the Greek government.
Panos Kammenos said his Independent Greeks would join a coalition with Syriza
New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis earlier conceded defeat to Mr Tsipras, saying: “I congratulate him and urge him to create the government which is needed.”
The latest projection gives Syriza 145 seats in the 300-seat parliament, with New Democracy on 75. This is only four fewer than Mr Tsipras’s thumping victory in January, but again leaves him just short of an absolute majority.
But the Independent Greeks are likely to get 10 seats.
Greece’s turbulent year
29 Dec: Greek parliament fails to elect president, leading to snap elections a month later
25 Jan: Leftist Syriza party’s Alexis Tsipras elected PM on an anti-austerity manifesto
24 Feb: Greece’s European lenders agree to extend its second bailout by four months
Jun: Marathon talks take place to avoid Greece bankruptcy and possibly leaving the eurozone. PM Tsipras calls a referendum on a possible bailout agreement
5 Jul: Greek voters overwhelmingly reject terms of third EU bailout in referendum vote
14 Aug: Greece agrees €85bn (£60bn) bailout deal with its creditors – its third in five years – allowing tax hikes and new spending cuts. Mr Tsipras resigns a week later clearing the way for snap elections in September, as he seeks a new mandate
20 Sept: New Democracy concedes election defeat to Syriza