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After Voters in Greece Have Their Say, Country’s Creditors Seek Their Turn

The new prime minister’s promise to end austerity, renegotiate the bailout and reduce the country’s debt burden may be hard to fulfill.

ATHENS — Now comes the hard task of making good on a key campaign promise.

As Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as prime minister of Greece on Monday, the emotional proposals he and his leftist Syriza party made to beleaguered Greeks — with promises to end austerity, renegotiate the country’s international bailout and reduce Greece’s staggering debt burden — resonated far beyond this country.

Greece’s international creditors may prove harder to persuade than the country’s voters.

Mr. Tsipras’s new coalition government, formed Monday with a right-wing fringe party that has taken a hard line toward austerity and the terms of Greece’s 240 billion euros, or $270 billion, in bailout loans, must contend with pressing financial issues as the country runs low on cash. While Mr. Tsipras has taken a potentially confrontational stance with the nation’s creditors, including Germany and the European Central Bank, analysts said time was on their side, not his.

European politicians and financial officials are already making clear that they are unlikely to oblige Mr. Tsipras on his demand that some of Greece’s debts be written off.

In Brussels on Monday, Mr. Dijsselbloem, the head of the group of eurozone finance ministers, said it was open to talking with Mr. Tsipras’s government “as soon as they are up and running.”

“We are very ready to work with them and talk on the future of the program,” he added.

But when asked about concerns that the new government in Greece could write off the country’s debt, Mr. Dijsselbloem said any such action would receive little backing from governments in the eurozone.

“We already have done a lot to take off the debt burden,” he said, “so there doesn’t seem to be great urgency.”

Jack Ewing contributed reporting from Frankfurt, and James Kanter from Brussels.

Source: The New York Times (1551 Articles)
Written by Liz Alderman