No leadership change in SYRIZA, for now

Mon, 29 May 2023 8:17 GMT
A leadership change in the main opposition party, left-wing SYRIZA, will have to wait until the June 25 election, if at all.
No leadership change in SYRIZA, for now

It is widely acknowledged, and not just within SYRIZA, that leader Alexis Tsipras is the main factor, other than Greece’s deep financial crisis after 2008, that transformed it from a party that could barely make it into Parliament into one that rose to government (January 2015 – July 2019).

With Tsipras still only 48, many SYRIZA supporters are reluctant to ditch the leader responsible for the party’s best showings in the polls.

But, it was Tsipras himself, during the last electoral campaign, who, apparently unaware of the voting trends, had said that “if a [political leader] loses by six percentage points, he will obviously face sanctions.”

Tsipras, of course, did not resign. With another election ahead, he couldn’t, he told the party’s political bureau the following day, according to information obtained by Kathimerini. Quitting now, he told his comrades, would be “unfair” and “dishonest” and would undermine the position of any new leader who would have to fight a new election so soon after this unexpectedly disastrous result.

Even “Umbrella,” as the left-wing opposition inside the party call themselves, agreed. “If this 20% becomes 27% [in the next election], we might have to rethink [a leadership change],” one of Umbrella’s members told Kathimerini, reflecting the hope that voters may choose to trim triumphant Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ sails. He also said “with a more collective operation of the party.”

Still, talk about leadership abounds behind the scenes and has even surfaced. Leading Umbrella members, who met for eight hours last Tuesday, two days after the defeat, privately say that a certain cycle has ended for SYRIZA. This means, if not a new leader, at least less reliance on Tsipras’ personal charisma. 


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