Ex-SYRIZA leader Alavanos launches party advocating Greek euro exit

Former SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos officially launched his new “Plan B” party on Thursday, advocating Greece leave the euro and return to the drachma.

Alavanos led SYRIZA between 2004 and 2008 but has been mostly on the political sidelines over the last few years. Over recent months, he has criticized the party he used to lead, arguing that its goal of rejecting the terms of the EU-IMF bailout but remaining in the single currency was not credible.

This criticism culminated in the 63-year-old announcing yesterday the creation of a new party that would give “a large part of Greek society, possibly as much as 50 percent who are in favor of leaving the euro, a chance to have their say.”

Alavanos said that in contrast to SYRIZA, the positions held by the Communist Party (KKE) and anti-capitalist ANTARSYA, which advocated a euro exit, had been “justified to a large degree.”

However, the leftist stressed that a return to the drachma would not in itself be a solution to Greece’s problems. “Leaving the euro is a precondition for salvation and recovery but is not enough on its own,” he said. “It is a link in the chain of transformations that have to happen, which includes economic planning, stopping payments to foreign lenders and nationalizing banks.”

The treatment of Cyprus by the eurozone, including threats that the liquidity supply to its banks would be cut off, only strengthened the need for Greece to look at alternatives, said Alavanos. “Events in Cyprus give the image of a nightmarish future, which we must never experience in Greece.”

Alavanos, who led SYRIZA to a 5.04 percent share of the vote in 2007, said that his new party would eschew the usual bureaucracy associated with political movements and instead harness the power of the Internet and direct democracy by operating through a “national network of assemblies, which will have decision-making powers.”

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