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Definition: Thrust onto the world stage with a strong showing in the May 6th 2012 elections in Greece which put it just behind New Democracy but ahead of PASOK, SYRIZA is a leftist party which is pro-union, and anti-austerity. Its name is usually translated as Coalition of the Radical Left, and it shelters more than a dozen smaller groups under its political umbrella.

In transliterated Greek, SYRIZA is Synaspismos tis Rizospastikis Aristeras. In Greek letters, it is Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς.


The leader of the party is Alexis Tsipras.

SYRIZA after the June 2012 Elections

Alex Tsipras, whose party appears to be coming in a solid second in the tight elections, has announced SYRIZA will stay in opposition to winner New Democracy rather than form a coalition government immediately.

SYRIZA after the May 2012 Elections

When winning party New Democracy failed in its attempt to assemble a coalition government after the election, that task fell to SYRIZA, though many observers expected that attempt to fail as well. They were correct, and after numerous talks with the other parties, Tsipras and SYRIZA handed back the mandate to form a new government, leaving PASOK to attempt the same. They too failed and Greece went into a "last resort" attempt to form a new government, brokered by Greek president Karolos Papoulias. This attempt was also expected to fail, and did. SYRIZA had announced that it will not participate in another round of coalition talks, and Greece now called for new elections in June, later scheduled for Sunday, June 17th.

Further complicating the situation, Greece has a system of "enhanced" proportionality, so the winning party in Greek elections receives a "bonus" of 50 seats. Without that bonus, from the May 6th elections, New Democracy would have 58 seats to SYRIZA's 52, with PASOK coming in with 48. Ultimately, ND prevailed and continues to be in power as of this writing in February 2013.

The newly-elected members of Parliament from the May 6th poll did sit for two days, before formally dissolving their government to make way for the new elections.

Small Parties in SYRIZA

The original founding parties of the Coalition of the Left were:

Synaspismos (SYN)
Renewing Communist Ecological Left (AKOA)
Internationalist Workers Left (DEA)
Movement for the United in Action Left (KEDA)
Active Citizens

News Coverage

Wall Street Journal: Greek Leftist in Spotlight As Coalition Talks Begin

More News Headlines from Greece

Also Known As: Coalition of the Radical Left
Alternate Spellings: Syriza, SYRIZA, S.Y.R.I.Z.A., Coalition of the Radical Left
Common Misspellings: S.Y.R.I.Z.A. - while not absolutely incorrect, the political party is almost never referred to using periods.

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