Obama phones Tsipras following election victory

Tsipras' Syriza won 36.3 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections

Tsipras' Syriza won 36.3 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama phoned newly-elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Wednesday to congratulate him on his party's recent electoral victory. 

Tsipras, Greece's youngest prime minister in 150 years, on Tuesday unveiled the country's new government made up of 39 ministries, six of whom are women. 

"The president noted that the United States, as a longstanding friend and ally, looks forward to working closely with the new Greek government to help Greece return to a path of long-term prosperity," the White House said in a readout of the call. 

Tsipras' Syriza won 36.3 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections, with the ruling coalition gaining 27.8 percent, giving Syriza a projected 149 seats in the 300-seat parliament -- two short of the absolute majority needed to form a single-party government.

The right-wing Independent Greeks party agreed to form a coalition government with the leftist Syriza. Although ideologically different from Syriza, the Independent Greeks share its anti-austerity policy.

During his election campaign, Tsipras  promised to achieve a write-down of at least half of Greece's $363.23 billion (€320 billion) debt and put an end to the austerity measures imposed in exchange for the country's bailout by the Troika - the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

But Germany has already ruled out a reduction in Greek debt. 

The years of austerity imposed by the bailout programs have soured sentiment against the previous coalition government of the New Democracy and Panhellenic Socialist Movement political parties. That government was obliged to cut wages and social services, increase taxes and lay off public sector workers.

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