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New Greek PM Tsipras: I’ll End Five Years of Austerity ‘Humiliation’

Greece’s new left-wing leader has promised to end “five years of humiliation and suffering” from austerity demanded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund after securing a crushing election victory.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza party, will be sworn in Monday with a pledge to reverse financial cuts demanded by international lenders in return for the country’s 240 billion-euro bailout.

He is expected form a coalition with the small Independent Greeks party which, like Syriza, opposes Greece's bailout deal and the strict budgetary rigor championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Syriza won 149 seats in the 300-seat parliament in Sunday's election, two short of an absolute majority, but the result marked a comprehensive rejection of austerity.

"Greece leaves behind catastrophic austerity, it leaves behind fear and authoritarianism, it leaves behind five years of humiliation and suffering," Tsipras told thousands of cheering supporters gathered in Athens on Sunday.

Syriza's campaign slogan "Hope is coming!" resonated with voters worn down by huge budget cuts and heavy tax rises during the years of crisis that have sent unemployment over 25 percent and pushed millions into poverty.

The 40-year-old, who promises to keep Greece in the euro, has toned down his rhetoric and said he will negotiate an agreement with the "troika" of the EU, European Central Bank and IMF.

However, he has promised Greek voters to renegotiate the country's huge debts, causing consternation in Berlin which has insisted that Athens honor the terms of its 2010 bailout deal.

The euro hit an 11 year-low versus the dollar after initial results came out.

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- Reuters