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Alexis Tsipras's Conquest of Greece

Leftist Alexis Tsipras has become Greece’s most potent political voice and the symbol of Europe’s backlash against austerity. His rise to power could spell doom for the euro
Alexis Tsipras's Conquest of Greece
Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The headquarters of the Greek political party that could bring down the European economy lies in a rundown neighborhood in central Athens. Not far away in one direction, a municipal soup kitchen feeds the city’s rising number of poor. Around another corner, a medical charity caters to illegal immigrants and the newly uninsured. The décor inside party headquarters is similarly modest.

Neon tubes shine down on worn blue linoleum. The walls are streaked with age. The only room in the building with a fresh coat of paint is the office of the party’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, the 37-year-old radical leftist who has campaigned on renegotiating Greece’s debt deal. “Sometimes we have television cameras in there,” says Maria Kalyviotou, one of the chain-smoking young volunteers who man the party’s media operations. “That’s why we painted that room.”