NEWS

Tsipras still leader but rifts remain

SYRIZA congress underlines unity as well as growing appeal of more radical faction

Despite the confirmation of Alexis Tsipras’s leadership of SYRIZA by almost three quarters of the delegates at a congress on Sunday that had been aimed at unifying the left-wing party’s various groupings, the announcement of the official results Monday also underlined the apparent strengthening of one faction – the Aristeri Platforma (Left Platform), led by MP Panayiotis Lafazanis, which has proposed leaving open the option of Greece returning to the drachma.

After clinching 74.08 percent of the vote, Tsipras hailed the congress and his re-election at the helm of SYRIZA as a significant moment in Greek leftist politics.

“We took a historic step; from tomorrow we will set out on the road to victory more united and stronger than ever so that we can stop the social destruction and rebuild Greece,” the leftist leader said.

But the party appeared significantly less unified than its leader proclaimed. Twenty percent of delegates cast blank votes in the leadership vote. And in another vote, Lafazanis’s Left Platform boosted its control of the party’s central committee, increasing the proportion of seats it holds to 30.15 percent from 25 percent.

Lafazanis’s party described the outcome of the congress as “very positive,” noting that it confirmed the faction’s “large and growing appeal.”

However, the majority of delegates dismissed a proposal from Left Platform for SYRIZA to leave open the option of Greece returning to the drachma. They also voted to give the four SYRIZA factions refusing to disband another three months to decide whether they would be dissolved.

Online