Spain PM Rajoy urges stable, pro-EU Greek government

26th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy congratulated the leader of Greece's radical left-wing Syriza party Monday for his election victory and said he hoped he would form a "stable" government.

"I wish to congratulate you for Syriza's victory," Rajoy wrote in a telegram to Alexis Tsipras, whose party won Sunday's election on promises to roll back the austerity measures imposed in the recent financial crisis.

"I hope the election result leads to the forming of a stable government committed to the programme of European integration that Greece and Spain share," Rajoy wrote.

Rajoy had openly backed Tsipras's conservative rival Antonis Samaras in the Greek election, but told Tsipras he was ready "to work together to strengthen our bilateral and European relations".

Tsipras's anti-austerity stance raised warnings of a possible return to the financial turbulence that infected Spain in 2012, which at its height had prompted concerns for the future of the euro.

Tsipras has vowed to renegotiate Greece's bailout by the EU and International Monetary Fund but has promised to keep Greece in the eurozone.

Like recent Greek leaders, Rajoy imposed tough spending cuts and tax hikes which he said were necessary to stabilise the public finances during the recent economic crisis.

Spain, unlike Greece, resisted pressure to be bailed out by international creditors.

Rajoy himself faces a challenge from a rising left-wing contender: the protest party Podemos, which has overtaken his ruling party in recent opinion polls.

Podemos's leader Pablo Iglesias hailed Syriza's victory as "good news for southern Europe".

"It will show that austerity has done no good, and that sovereignty must be national and of the people", not of international economic powers, Iglesias told a news conference on Monday.

© 2015 AFP

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