Panayiotis Lafazanis, the former energy minister who broke away from SYRIZA with 24 other MPs last week to form the radical left Popular Unity, Monday received the exploratory mandate from President Prokopis Pavlopoulos with the countdown to elections next month poised to begin.
Lafazanis called for the vote to take place after September 20 and for the parties to agree for proportional representation to apply. However, the leader of the country’s third-largest parliamentary group, which on Monday submitted its documents to the Supreme Court so it can be officially recognized as a party, might not be able to secure either of these targets.
He has to return the mandate on Thursday, which means elections could still be held on September 20. There also appears no prospect of the electoral law changing.
The mandate was relinquished by New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis Monday after he used it for the full three days allowed. Meimarakis insisted that a new coalition government could be formed from the current Parliament but blamed his lack of success in this direction on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for not meeting him over the weekend.
Lafazanis also asked for a meeting with Tsipras, which the SYRIZA leader declined. Instead, the latter addressed a meeting of SYRIZA’s political secretariat to discuss the party’s strategy for the upcoming election contest. The message Tsipras sent out at the meeting is that he is not open to cooperation with the parties representing Greece’s establishment after the elections.
His comments, which seemed aimed at New Democracy and PASOK in particular, are part of SYRIZA’s strategy to drum up support and ensure it does not lose floating voters to other parties.
Tsipras is expected to have a hands-on role in drawing up SYRIZA’s candidate list, which is expected to include figures who are not party members. The leftist leader suffered a blow Monday when SYRIZA secretary Tassos Koronakis announced his resignation and declared his displeasure with the government’s actions.