SYRIZA absolves Polakis

Greece
Mon, 20 Mar 2023 7:16 GMT
SYRIZA MP and former Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis will be a candidate for the left-wing main opposition party in the national election later in the Spring, the party’s Political Secretariat has decided.
SYRIZA absolves Polakis

SYRIZA MP and former Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis will be a candidate for the left-wing main opposition party in the national election later in the Spring, the party’s Political Secretariat has decided.

Earlier Sunday, Polakis had sent a letter to the party’s top body apologizing for two controversial social postings, the first of which criticized the party’s decision not to field a certain candidate, and friend of his, in his own multiseat constituency of Hania, on the island of Greece, and the second, a broadside against certain named journalists, whose photos he published, and a hardly veiled threat against them. For the second posting, Polakis claims his intentions were “misinterpreted”; he did not “target” the journalists, but wanted to “highlight” the “manipulation of information by the Mitsotakis regime” as he called the ruling conservative government.

Most important for his party standing, Polakis, in his letter, said he never intended to challenge the leadership of SYRIZA president and former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, accusing the “willing (writers) of the systemic media” of spreading a lie.

“The letter by comrade Polakis…forces us to reevaluate our original intentions, because it is, indeed, a letter of brave self-criticism,” Tsipras responded. A little letter, SYRIZA’s top executive body said that “the body took into account the letter made public by Pavlos Polakis, in which he explains his recent (social media) posts, recognizes mistakes and inappropriate actions and reaffirms his unconditional respect for the collective decisions taken by SYRIZA-Progressive Coalition.”

SYRIZA had decided, last February 28, not to field Polakis among the party candidates in the coming election and to send him to a disciplinary committee to decide his standing with the party; media had speculated that a suspension of membership was more likely than an outright expulsion.

Hours after that decision, the railway disaster at Tempe, Greece’s deadliest ever, changed the political landscape; in its wake, the ruling New Democracy has seen its popularity drop in opinion polls and, although SYRIZA is not seen as gaining followers, it has significantly narrowed the gap with New Democracy, making the government’s goal of winning a Parliamentary majority in a second election, much more difficult to attain.

Reacting to his absolution by the party, Polakis posted an old photo with Tsipras, commenting: “Together for the great victory and more determined than ever. For the country’s relief. For Justice everywhere.” adding in two postscripts: “As if we would do their bidding” and “Crete shows the way.”

New Democracy, as well as the socialist PASOK party, which SYRIZA is trying to woo as a possible “progressive coalition” partner, blasted the decision to absolve the voluble and often controversial Polakis: New Democracy called the SYRIZA decision “grotesque” and said Tsipras made “one of his famous flip-flops,” noting that Polakis “did not take back his appalling posts about journalists and judges.” “This is the most resounding rebuttal against those who were advertising a supposed turn to moderation by Mr Tsipras…Mr Polakis is, and remains, Mr Tsipras’ alter ego,” it said.

“Polakis’ return means a tolerance for the attacks he launched 20 days ago against journalists and judges,” PASOK said in a statement, mocking the “so-called moderate turn by SYRIZA that has ended ingloriously.”

kathimerini

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