Greece’s most important Opposition social gathering suffered a cut up on November 12 when a left-wing faction introduced it was breaking away, accusing the social gathering’s lately elected chief of abandoning its core ideology for a kind of “right-wing populism.”
Umbrella, a faction led by Euclid Tsakalotos, a former Finance Minister during Syriza’s government of 2015-19, announced its departure with a blistering statement that accused party leader Stefanos Kasselakis of “Trumpian practices (and) right-leaning populism.” The once-dominant party has been in disarray ever since its resounding defeat by conservative New Democracy in double elections in May and June.
Already in opposition since 2019, Syriza had hoped to regain power. Instead, it was roundly disavowed, falling in the most recent election to 17.8%, compared to New Democracy’s 40.6%, a result that led long-time leader Alexis Tsipras to announce his resignation.
The split, which came after weeks of withering criticism of the leader from within the party, became inevitable in recent days, when Mr. Kasselakis insisted he wanted to expel three prominent members of the Umbrella faction, all former Ministers.
When it became clear he might not get his way with party organs, Mr. Kasselakis said he would put the question to a referendum among party members.
This proposal drew a rebuke even among his allies. In a tumultuous session of the party’s Central Committee on Saturday, Mr. Kasselakis’ confrontational speech was often interrupted with boos and shouts of “shame!” Umbrella, in addition to supporters of Effie Achtsioglou, Mr. Kasselakis’ most important rival in final September’s management election, left earlier than the session was over.
Mr. Kasselakis gained the management election that adopted Syriza’s defeat on the polls in September. A political neophyte and U.S. resident, with no connection to the social gathering earlier than he grew to become a candidate for the May election, he got here out of nowhere to win the competition. A four-minute video during which he informed his life story shot him to prominence and made him the favorite.
Mr. Kasselakis’ model, based mostly on social media presence and charisma, and his previous as a former Goldman Sachs worker and shipowner, rankled with old-school leftists, who have been additionally incensed with a few of his positions, comparable to advocating inventory choices for workers, and his total ideological vagueness.
They brazenly derided him for his “post-politics” and one distinguished social gathering particular person even in contrast him with former U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian comic Bepe Grillo, founding father of a populist political social gathering.
The new chief’s supporters, in flip, accused their rivals of getting conspired to undermine former chief Tsipras within the run-up to the disastrous elections and even for years earlier than. The present opinion polls, which present Syriza in a decent race for second place with the socialist Pasok social gathering, intensified the malaise inside Syriza.
Although the Umbrella supporters haven’t clarified their future plans, they’re anticipated to type a brand new left-wing political social gathering. They even have the backing of most of Syriza’s youth wing.
Ms. Achtsioglou, who leads her personal faction, known as 6+6, has determined to remain in Syriza, however her personal relations together with her chief are poisoned. She and her group issued their very own assertion on Sunday, after the left’s departure, slamming Mr. Kasselakis’ “deeply offensive and divisive speech” and accusing him of utilizing the vocabulary of the alt-right. An extra cut up of the social gathering can’t be dominated out.