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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsFormer SYRIZA Minister Confirms Candidacy Against Stefanos Kasselakis

Former SYRIZA Minister Confirms Candidacy Against Stefanos Kasselakis

Olga Gerovasili at the podium of the SYRIZA congress in Athens, February 24, 2024.
Olga Gerovasili will run against Stefanos Kasselakis in the upcoming SYRIZA party leadership vote in March. Credit: Twitter / Olga Gerovasili

Deputy Parliament speaker and former SYRIZA Minister Olga Gerovasili has confirmed her candidacy against Stefanos Kasselakis in a new party leadership vote which will take place on March 10—just five months after Kasselakis was elected party chairman.

The politician said she takes on the challenge that was presented to participants by the newly-appointed SYRIZA leader on Friday. She announced her candidacy during her speech at the SYRIZA congress in Athens on Saturday evening, stating that she shares the responsibility to “halt the downhill slide” of SYRIZA.

Her announcement was met with mixed reactions by attendees.

“A few months before the European Parliament elections, our party is sinking into introversion,” Gerovasili said. “We have to give it a way out. We cannot leave things as they are. We all have a responsibility. I bear a share of the responsibility, for the past and for the present.”

“Our opponent is Mitsotakis’ Right [party],” she added. “There are no opponents in here. Our congress is not an arena. No more enemies among us. No more division.”

SYRIZA leader Kasselakis proposes hybrid vote

Kasselakis welcomed Gerovasili’s candidacy and proposed that the party elections take place on March 10th, with an option for digital voting offered to members “in order to achieve the maximum possible participation.”

“I welcome the deputy speaker of the Parliament to the beautiful battle that will help the party love its members in practice,” he stated. “I promise to stay with the party regardless of the result, and work for the party.”

“I promise that if I win, the day after the elections I will invite the vice deputy speaker of the Parliament and her team to work together, so that we can bring about the constitutional changes we need,” Kasselakis added. “In the end the truth will win.”

Earlier on Saturday, some attendees tried to gather signatures to halt the new leadership vote, arguing that it is too early after Kasselakis’ election as party chairman.

The upcoming vote comes after the party’s former chairman Alexis Tsipras, who served as Greek Prime Minister from 2015 to 2019, urged his successor on Thursday to seek a renewed vote of confidence from the party’s membership ahead of its congress, which started that day.

His intervention was triggered by Kasselakis’ request to the party’s Political Secretariat on Wednesday for a three-year blank check which would allow him to retain the party leadership until the next national elections, regardless of the outcome of the European Parliament elections in June.

Eventually, on Thursday evening, Kasselakis challenged those who doubt his leadership to “find him an opponent” to which Gerovasili responded by announcing her candidacy against him.

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