Greek Anti-Austerity Party Vows to Halt Austerity

The Syriza party won 149 seats in Greece's Parliament and formed a coalition government with the conservative Independent Greeks who won 13 seats. Syriza campaigned on promises to cease austerity measures and renegotiate some of Greece's debt.

"A third of all Greeks live below the poverty line and this was the reality they brought to the voting booths," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious financial reform group, Jubilee USA Network.

Syriza opposes austerity measures that were part of the 2010 $147 billion loan deal during the Greek crisis. Since the deal, unemployment more than doubled and today, youth unemployment is at nearly 50%. The Greek economy contracted for five years in a row and Greece lost 400,000 jobs in 2012. Greece's debt burden is the largest in Europe and trails only Japan among developed nations. Syriza has proposed an international debt conference to renegotiate the length of payment terms and reduce the amount of Greek debt.

"The new Greek government is looking at innovative solutions to deal with debt and austerity policies that trap people in poverty," noted LeCompte who serves on debt expert working groups to the United Nations. "The question at hand is will the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union be willing to negotiate."

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 400 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee's mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org

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