Alexis Tsipras Early Life
Alexis Tsipras, born 28 July 1974, grew up in the neighborhood of Ampelokipi, across the soccer field of his favorite team, Panathinaikos, of which he remains a loyal fan today. He joined the Young Communists Society, and developed his talent for rhetoric. When the government proposed a new education privatisation bill in 1990, the 16-year-old Tsipras led an occupation of his school to oppose the reforms, locking teachers and other pupils out. Interviewed on television, he showed his aptitude for challenging authority. “We want the right to judge for ourselves whether to skip class,” he said.
He remained active in student politics while training as a civil engineer in Athens. In 1999, he became the secretary of the youth branch of the leftist Synaspismos, which would later become part of Syriza. Syriza is a Greek acronym for Coalition of the Radical Left, comprising socialists, Maoists, Trotskyists and Greens. In 2006, aged 32, he won an unexpectedly high 10.5 per cent of the vote as Syriza’s candidate in the electoral contest for Athens mayor. Tsipras was elected as Syriza leader two years later.
Alexios Tsipras Biography and Profile
Alexis Tsipras, a Greek politician serving as Leader of the Opposition since 2019, born 28 July 1974, four days after the fall of the Greek military junta that had ruled the country for seven years. His father was a civil engineer, and he was raised comfortably. Living near the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium of his beloved Panathinaikos, young Alexis initially seemed more interested in sport than in politics.
The leader of left-wing party Syriza since 2009, he served as Prime Minister of Greece from 2015 to 2019. A socialist, Tsipras has been Leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left, a left wing political party, since 2009.
Part of his appeal is his informality – he says he speaks for working Greeks, frustrated by a corrupt establishment that has bled the country dry. He is also seen as both approachable and rebellious, as his penchant for motorbikes and open-necked shirts suggests. (He says he’ll wear a tie when Greece gets its debts written off.)
Alexios Tsipras elected MP and head of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA
Alexios Tsipras was elected MP and head of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA at the national elections of 2009. He was re-elected MP during the national elections in May and June 2012, and has served as Leader of the Opposition until January 2015. On January 26, 2015, he was sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece, a position he held until August 2015. After elections, he was sworn in again as Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, on September 21st 2015.
Alexios Tsipras was Secretary of the youth wing of the “Coalition of the Left – Movements and Ecology”, from 1999 to 2003.
Tsipras has overseen an incredible political surge.
Tsipras has overseen an incredible political surge. After winning just 3.3 per cent of the vote in the 2004 elections, the party now dominates Greek politics, coming first in the January elections this year, with 36.3 per cent. That came on the back of a close second place in the 2012 elections, and a high-profile 2014 run to become president of the European Commission. The election sent shivers across Europe, as countries braced for the EU’s first radical left government. (Although he fell short of an outright majority by just two seats, Tsipras reached an agreement with the right-wing populist Independent Greeks party to form a coalition.)
Councilman of Athens
In 2006, he was elected Councilman of Athens. In 2008, he was elected party President at the 5th Congress of the “Coalition of the Left”, and then re- elected during the 6th Congress in June 2010. He has served as President of SYRIZA since the founding party congress in July 2013. In December 2010, he was elected Vice President of the “European Left” party (EL). In December 2013, he was nominated EL’s candidate for President of the European Commission.
Alexis Tsipras Quick Facts
- Family: His father, Pavlos, was a civil engineer. He has two children with his partner of 20 years, Peristera ‘Betty’ Batziana.
- Education: Studied civil engineering up to MPhil at the National Technical University of Athens.
- Career: Communist Youth member in the 1980s. Leader of the Synaspismos party in 2008. After coalition made leader of Syriza in 2009. Elected PM January 2015.
One of his first moves as Prime Minister signalled his intentions: a visit to the Resistance Memorial in Kaisariani to honour Greeks killed by the Nazis in the Second World War. In the rest of Europe, such overt references to Germany’s past are often seen as taboo. But bold gestures like these go down well in Greece, where Berlin is regularly demonised for its austerity demands. Such defiance has helped Tsipras’s ratings soar.
However, for all his electrifying impact on Greek politics, his appeal has fallen flat where it is needed most: in Europe. His combative style grates with other leaders, who have distanced themselves from what they see as a liability. Nor is Tsipras helped by his preening and flamboyant Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who proved so antagonistic that he had to be sidelined from the euro negotiations.
At one point, it looked as if the impasse could have been bridged. The mood in the eurozone has turned against severe austerity. There has long been an unspoken acceptance that Greece’s debts are so heavy that most will have to be written off – the IMF itself said so on Thursday. And it looked as if Tsipras could have found common ground with his creditors on reforms aimed at more effective tax collection, especially on Greece’s super-rich.
But despite attempts to reassure other leaders in face-to-face meetings – and figures such as ECB head Mario Draghi and Pope Francis – he has instead lost allies. In particular, he has alienated potential friends in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, who also suffered during the euro crisis but launched much-needed reforms to turn their economies around. And in a 28-member EU club built around the principles of compromise and understanding, Tsipras’s aggressive rhetoric has done him few favours.
Much of Tsipras’s strategy has been predicated on the assumption that his creditors will do what ever they can to keep Greece in the euro. However, patience is running out. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to call his bluff: along with almost all other eurozone leaders, she is now prepared to jettison Greece if no solution emerges.
Tsipras has said he will resign if he loses the referendum. But whatever the outcome, he has had a spectacular impact on Greece, and on the eurozone. It is not so clear, however, if history will remember him with fondness.
Alexios Tsipras’s Wife and Family
Alexios Tsipras entered into a Civil Partnership with Betty Baziana, and together, they have two sons.
Alexis Tsipras Biography and Profile