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Greece’s SYRIZA in Disarray as Prominent Left-Wingers Part Ways

New SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis has been accused of moving the party to the right. Credit: AMNA

Prominent members of the main opposition party in Greece, SYRIZA, announced on Friday they are leaving accusing the new leader Stefanos Kasselakis of moving to the right.

Nikos Voutsis, former speaker of Parliament, announced his departure in a letter, where expressed his concern about the current state of the party.

“I believe that instead of undergoing the necessary restructuring, which should involve the collective efforts of all its forces, our party unfortunately now finds itself in a situation resembling irreparable political damage.”

He accused the new leadership of steering SYRIZA away from its core left-wing principles.

“With the exclusive responsibility of the new president and the newly formed leadership around him, the party is taking a direction that unequivocally distances itself from the Left and is expected to gradually fight for a place in political Center,” he said.

Since Kasselakis was elected as the new leader, the party has been riven with internal strife and tensions.

Key party members have either announced their departure from the party or been pushed out, while members of the “Umbrella” faction, which represents the left-wing opposition within the party and include figures like former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, are reportedly ready to press the “split” button.

More prominent members left SYRIZA

Earlier on Friday, former SYRIZA secretary Panos Skourletis also announced his departure slamming newly-elected leader Stefanos Kasselakis for distancing SYRIZA from its left-wing roots.

“SYRIZA was unable to leverage the significant events and crises throughout the entire preceding period, which could have highlighted the prominence of leftist views over neoliberal impasses,” Skourletis said.

“The choices made… ultimately brought us to a point where New Democracy played without an opponent, making SYRIZA synonymous with unreliability in the minds of citizens,” he said.

Skourletis also accused the new SYRIZA leader of spearheading an orchestrated effort to break up the party.

“The forces currently dominant within SYRIZA are implementing a plan of division and rupture led by Stefanos Kasselakis, a newcomer with no connection to the Left or politics,” he said.

“It is evident that this is a plan to sever the party from its left-wing roots, ultimately leading to the end of the presence in Greece of the renewing and radical Left after more than half a century,” he said.

Earlier in the week former SYRIZA minister Giorgos Stathakis accused Kasselakis and his close circle of advisors of “anti-leftist hysteria.”

He went on to characterize the new leader as an “apolitical, fluid figure… Possessing nothing more than vague notions about the country’s history, politics, Europe, political ideologies, New Democracy’s positions on ‘major issues,’ geopolitics, and even the SYRIZA government itself.”

Stathakis further asserted that “Kasselakis is buying into the Trumpian fantasy of establishing a direct connection with the masses, where he proclaims, ‘I communicate with society directly and have no need for the party’.”

SYRIZA is the second largest party in the Hellenic Parliament. Former party chairman Alexis Tsipras served as Prime Minister of Greece from 26 January 2015 to 20 August 2015 and from 21 September 2015 to 8 July 2019. It is a member of the Party of the European Left.

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