Greek leftist leader announces "end to humiliation"

ATHENS -- Leader of the Greek opposition Syriza party Alexis Tsipras has said that "an end to national humiliation" was near.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

He spoke three days ahead of the parliamentary election, addressing thousands of supporters who gathered in Athens, and as opinion polls on Thursday showed the party was "pulling ahead", Reuters reported.

"On Monday, national humiliation will be over. We will finish with orders from abroad. We are asking for a first chance for Syriza. It might be the last chance for Greece," Tsipras told the rally.

He was joined on stage by the leader of Spanish leftist party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, as "supporters waved Greek flags and placards reading 'Change Greece, change Europe!', while loudspeakers blared lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song 'First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin'," the agency said.

"The wind of democratic change is blowing, a change in Europe, of a change in Greece. It is called Syriza in Greece, and in Spain it is called Podemos," Iglesias said.

A poll by Metron Analysis to be published on Friday showed Syriza's lead over the New Democracy party growing to 5.3 points from 4.6 points, which would give it 36 percent of the vote, "putting it on the verge of an outright victory."

The election is being "closely watched by financial markets who fear a Syriza victory could lead to a standoff with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders and push the country close to bankruptcy or an exit from the euro zone," Reuters said.

Tsipras leads those political forces that stand against the difficult austerity measures that have been implemented in Greece for years, while many in the EU fear that if the party gains power, Greece might "refuse to pay back the EUR 240 billion it owes to creditors."

Tsipras has stressed that austerity was not part of European charters, while "democracy and the principle of sovereignty of nations are," but that his government would respect Greece's obligations as a member of the eurozone.