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Greece’s SYRIZA Disintegrates as More Prominent Members Leave

SYRIZA now counts only 36 MPs in Parliament. Credit: AMNA

SYRIZA, the main opposition party in Greece, is in disarray as more prominent leftist MPs and members announced their departure accusing the leadership of authoritarian practices and moving the party to the right.

The most prominent politician to leave SYRIZA on Friday was Efi Ahtsioglou, a former minister in the cabinet of Alexis Tsipras in the 2015 to 2019 period. She lost the election to become the party’s leader in September to Stefanos Kasselakis.

Altogether, nine members of Parliament who were elected with SYRIZA in the last elections followed Ahtsioglou and announced they will become independent. In addition, forty-eight members of the party’s central committee have also left.

SYRIZA now has thirty-six MPs, while those who departed from the party and sit in Parliament as independents have risen to eleven.

This will be the second major split within the party in the last few weeks, after the Umbrella faction, led by former Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, departed last week. On Monday, Tsakalotos hinted at the possibility of forming a new parliamentary group separate from SYRIZA and in cooperation with Achtsiglou.

Leader dissolves SYRIZA, rebels say

In an open letter published on Friday, Ahtsioglou and her supporters accuse Kasselakis of acting undemocratically, “dissolving SYRIZA and turning it into an amorphous party”.

“SYRIZA is experiencing a dissolution crisis,” the rebels say. Kasselakis and his leadership group refuse to recognize and discuss the political core of the problem.

“When they do not choose attacks and insults, they resort to a simplistic, empty speech with general slogans. The results are visible. At this moment, SYRIZA is sinking into disrepute and discredit. It is a painful and dissolving process that affects not only the historic party of the Left, but the progressive forces and the Republic of the country as a whole. Stefanos Kasselakis was democratically elected. But it is acting undemocratically,” the letter says.

An opinion poll published earlier this week shows that SYRIZA has slipped to the third position, sharing the same percentage as the Greek Communist Party (KKE) at 10.5 percent.

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

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 the political Center,” he said.

Former SYRIZA secretary Panos Skourletis also announced his departure slamming newly-elected leader Stefanos Kasselakis for distancing SYRIZA from its left-wing roots.

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