The agreement for a third bailout with international lenders widened the split within SYRIZA Thursday as former Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis indicated he will lead an effort to start an anti-memorandum movement, while the party’s youth wing called for Greece to leave the eurozone.
A statement signed by Lafazanis and 12 leftists, but not MPs, called for the founding of a “unifying movement that will fulfill people’s desire for democracy and social justice.” The statement gave no specifics about the group’s plans, apart from making it clear they plan a national campaign against the new loan agreement.
Government sources responded to Lafazanis’s move by suggesting it had been in the making for some time. “It formalizes a decision taken some time ago for him to follow a different path than the government and SYRIZA,” sources close to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, adding that the party never advocated the option of leaving the euro and that the result of the referendum last month, when almost 62 percent of Greeks voted against the bailout terms on offer at the time, cannot be interpreted as a mandate to return to a national currency.
Lafazanis appeared sanguine about the implications of his statement, saying he doubted Tsipras would oust him and other MPs from the Left Platform faction for opposing the bailout. “Is he going to oust us from Parliament? Let him go ahead,” Lafazanis responded to a journalist’s question about what Tsipras might do.
SYRIZA’s youth wing also voiced its opposition to the new bailout Thursday. It accused the government of making a “sudden turn toward the neoliberal strategy of the memorandum” and adopting policies that run counter to the party’s pledges.