Tsipras seeks to build on benefits of USA trip

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras resumes his duties in Athens next week after completing his trip to the USA, with the first test of his decision to hold talks in Berlin and Washington due on the weekend, when the leftist party’s central committee meets.

Tsipras’s decision to meet with the likes of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and the IMF’s deputy chief David Lipton is seen as part of an effort to take SYRIZA in a more pragmatic direction, a “realistic switch,” as some commentators have labeled it.

Recently, SYRIZA MP Dimitris Papadimoulis, from the party’s moderate wing, explained that in order to convince more people who are unhappy with the government to support the leftists, they would need to “provide an alternative plan for governing and a quick and effective transformation of SYRIZA into a single party, without dissenting voices.”

Tsipras’s visit to the USA, during which he distanced himself from claims he would tear up Greece’s loan agreement, seems to have helped establish his and the party’s credentials as a realistic alternative to the coalition government.

“Initially, there was concern about Mr Tsipras,” Bill Antholis, managing director of the Brookings Institution in Washington, where Tsipras spoke, told Sunday’s Kathimerini. “Anyone who leads a party called Coalition of the Radical Left provokes skepticism here. Most people who heard him speak found him to be a smooth politician, less radical than they expected.”