The Greek electorate has spoken and what they said will send shivers across Europe, including Ireland.
The landslide victory of Syriza, a new party which translates as the Coalition of the Radical Left, was a resounding rebuttal of the massive austerity policies of the previous government and the European Union.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, a 40-year-old former Communist, said his party’s victory marked an end to the “vicious cycle of austerity,” one that has left Greece with 26 percent unemployment, massive debt and a ruined economy.
Ireland will take great interest in the Greek result both in terms of the political upheaval and the real possibility that the Irish will now be part of debt renegotiations.
The current Irish government will also be keeping a keen eye on developments. If the left in Greece succeeds in engineering a new deal and creating an economic revival it will give the lie to all those who say only center right parties can deal with European economic issues properly.
Tsipras made clear he would be meeting with EU leaders to demand a reduction in the $240 billion debt, which resulted in massive tax hikes and layoffs.
“This is a historic victory of the Greek people. A new page has turned. It is a historic moment for the entire Europe. We turn a new page in our country. The Greek people take their future into their own hands,” Tsipras said.
With one-third of its population in poverty, Greece certainly need a new sense of hope and direction.
It should not go unnoticed that after World War II when the U.S. could have crucified West Germany and its allies for war reparations, it instead instituted the Marshall Plan which forgave the debt essentially and provided $160 billion in today's money in incentives to rebuild Europe.
That economic stimulus was the right prescription then, and it is the right prescription now.
Deflation, bankruptcy and hard times still face several countries in Europe.
Now that Germany effectively rules over European economic matters, they should take advice from that chapter in their country’s history and work with Greece, Spain, Ireland and the countries saddled with crippling debt.
The alternative, as Greece has shown, is a sharp shock to the political system, with a similar party to Syriza already showing huge political gains in Spain, and parties like Sinn Fein in Ireland scoring very highly in opinion polls.
The rap on these parties has been that they would make matters worse not better, leading to further economic defaults.
However, if the new Greek government proves that is not the case then a whole new political perspective may take hold.
That could be only helpful for Europe as a whole where groupthink has made matters worse, not better, since the massive economic downturn.
In recent years Greece has become the sick man of Europe, yet it remains a proudly historic nation, the one which brought modern civilization to the earth.
Now the country has been called on again to point a new way forward in a time of great economic anxiety.
With a youthful leader at the helm it seems Greece has turned a page. Whether the rest of Europe intends to follow is still unclear.