Lafazanis denies speculation of rift within SYRIZA party

SYRIZA MP Panayiotis Lafazanis, who leads the man opposition party's so-called Left Platform, on Thursday sought to play down reports of a heated argument with party leader Alexis Tsipras during Wednesday's session of the party's political secretariat.

“A substantial discussion during [a meeting of] the political secretariat of the party on the final shape of the Euro-list was interpreted by various systemic centers into a 'rift' within SYRIZA and into a 'heated exchange' between me and Alexis Tsipras,” Lafazanis said Thursday.

“Democracy, respect for collective decisions and radicalism constitute non-negotiable principles and values for SYRIZA,” he said.

Reports on Wednesday said that Tsipras and Lafazanis disagreed over the latter’s proposal for the party to include a plan for exiting the euro in its manifesto ahead of May's local and European Parliament elections. 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 conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras “was a comic prime minister exercising a tragic policy.”