A few weeks ago Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reached an agreement with other Eurozone leaders over a third Greek bailout. This came after weeks of drama and protracted negotiations and has involved Greece making several concessions. However in accepting these terms many believe Tsipras has sold his country short and failed to act on what his voters demanded.
Tsipras was elected Prime Minister when the Syriza party won the Greek elections in 2014. The Syriza party were elected on a left wing manifesto which promised to be anti-austerity and stand up for the people of Greece in Europe. This anti-austerity position was given further weight when the Greek people decisively voted No in a recent referendum.
When a government is elected, regardless of the country they are elected in and the situation they face or inherit they are elected on a certain manifesto. This is the contract they make with their electors. On occasions a political party may have to change direction slightly from the manifesto, but a complete about turn does led to questions about legitimacy, especially when a political party knows the situation they will inherit.
This is not a debate about economics, it is a debate about democracy. There is a strong argument to say that because of this deal Greece and the Greek people will be in a far better position, however this is not what their voters voted for. A political party cannot be elected on a manifesto and then turn its back on the main tenants of that manifesto. It must have the confidence of its beliefs even in the most difficult of times.
The situation in Greece is complex and there is no easy solution. Regardless of whether an agreement had been reached or there had been no agreement, it is likely there would have been howls of anguish and claims of treachery. On this occasion though these claims are perfectly fair and Tsipras now faces a challenge to keep his party and country united in the midst of many harsh austerity reforms.
Article by Mike Hough