If you haven’t heard there is an election in Greece on Sunday. If he wins, 37 year old leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras promises to reject austerity and the crippling terms of the 130 billion euro bailout.
On the right, the other front-runner is 61 year old New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras. Samaras says rejecting the terms of the bailout would send Greece crashing out of the single currency and condemn it to even greater economic calamity.
So who is Alexis Tsipras? Tsipras was born July 28, 1974, in Athens. He studied civil engineering at the National Technical University of Athens and after his graduation in 2000 he worked as a civil engineer in the construction industry.
Politically, he joined the Communist Youth of Greece in the late 80s. In the early 90s, as a student in high school, he was politically active in the uprising against a controversial law of then minister Vasilis Kontogiannopoulos.
As a university student he joined the ranks of the left movement and was ultimately elected member of the Central Council of the National Students Union of Greece in the mid-90s.
After the departure of the Communist Party of Greece from Synaspismos, Tsipras remained in the radical new left party. He was the first person to hold the leading position (political secretary) of the youth wing of Synaspismos.
Years later, he was elected chairman of Synaspismos during the fifth party congress on February 10, 2008. When he was elected president of Synaspismos he was 33, thus becoming the youngest ever head of a Greek parliamentary political party.
In the 2009 Greek legislative election he was elected a member of the Hellenic parliament and was voted unanimously, by the secretariat of the SYRIZA (a coalition of thirteen left-wing and radical left political parties) as the head of its parliamentary group.
The video below is a recent interview where Tsipras discusses Greece’s future in the euro zone.