Leftist opposition SYRIZA on Wednesday announced another six of its candidates for next month’s European Parliament elections, following a stormy session of the party’s political secretariat, leaving the final two of its 42 hopefuls to be finalized in the coming days.
The six candidates are journalist Giorgos Kyritsis, labor economist Maria Karamessini, Doctors of the World Greece head Nikitas Kanakis, Paralympics athlete Giorgos Fountoulakis, academic Pepi Rigopoulou and Kriton Arsenis, a Euro MP previously allied with PASOK.
Another point of controversy was around one of the names proposed for the two remaining spots, that of Sabiha Suleiman, who has been recognized for her efforts toward the integration of Roma in Thrace, northern Greece. Protesters complained that Suleiman was not an appropriate representative of Thrace’s predominant Muslim minority.
It remained unclear who SYRIZA’s last two candidates would be though speculation continued Wednesday about satirist Lakis Lazopoulos taking one of the two spots.
According to sources, there continued to be tensions between SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and outspoken MP Panayiotis Lafazanis, who leads the party’s so-called Left Platform, over the latter’s proposal for the party to include a plan for exiting the euro in its manifesto. The plan was rejected by SYRIZA’s central committee on Monday but has led to renewed criticism about rifts within the party on key policy issues.
In a speech in Halkida on Wednesday, Tsipras sought to play down differences of opinion, claiming that SYRIZA MPs “discuss democratically and openly.” He added that Antonis Samaras “was a comic prime minister exercising a tragic policy.”