SYRIZA trapped in spiral of acrimony

Acrimonious statements and more departures of senior party officials followed the explosive meeting of the central committee of SYRIZA at the weekend, demonstrating that it will be difficult for the main opposition party to escape from the spiral of destructive introversion and further disintegration.

SYRIZA President Stefanos Kasselakis referred on Monday to a “new day” in an attempt to signal a fresh start after two difficult days with his leadership being questioned.

Speaking to radio station Sto Kokkino, he stated that “it is a new day for our party, united and with fresh ideas and with a deep social, humanitarian and ecological signal we will go forward and open the party to society.”

However, the belligerent climate continued on Monday with strong statements made by all warring sides inside and outside the party.

On Sunday, Umbrella, a faction led by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos during SYRIZA’s 2015-19 government, announced its exit with a stinging statement accusing Kasselakis of “Trumpian practises (and) right-leaning populism.”

Although Umbrella supporters have not stated their intentions, it is expected that they will form a new left-wing political party.

According to reports, Umbrella is in a hurry, and it is likely that the party it is planning to create will take shape after Christmas.

Until then, the faction will seek to get in touch with people who have stayed out of SYRIZA or with those who turned their backs on the party in 2019 and 2023.

Effie Achtsioglou, who was Kasselakis’ main rival in last September’s leadership election and leads her own faction, 6+6, has decided to remain in SYRIZA, but her relationship with the party leader is strained.

Her next moves are oriented toward a national conference. Some members of her faction are expressing reservations about aligning with Umbrella, some insist that they should have already left the party while others recommend patience.

Meanwhile, MEP Stelios Kouloglou, who recently quit SYRIZA, rejected calls on Monday from Kasselakis to give up his seat in the European Parliament. “I was elected by 200,000 people. I believe that I have fully honored the commitment I made. I remained steadfast in my positions. Therefore, this matter has been closed for quite some time,” Kouloglou, now an independent MEP, told state broadcaster ERT.