SYRIZA rebels clash with gov’t as parties prepare to draft candidate lists

SYRIZA rebels clash with gov’t as parties prepare to draft candidate lists

The row between and the rebels that broke away to form their own group on Friday intensified over the weekend as Greece’s parties prepare their candidate lists for the upcoming snap elections.

The new leftist party, Popular Unity, comprising 25 breakaway MPs from SYRIZA, took the opportunity to lash out at the government over the weekend. In a statement, the party said the government’s claim to have negotiated with the country’s lenders was a “euphemism” as it led to the country’s third bailout.

The party also accused Tsipras’s aides of “confusing the dictatorship of the memorandum with the democratic operation of institutions.” That comment was a reaction to an earlier statement issued by Tsipras’s press office, accusing Parliament Speaker Zoe Constantopoulou of “acting like a dictator” and saying that she was “a wrong choice.”

SYRIZA is expected to start whittling down its list of election candidates this week. The fact that the Popular Unity rebels defected before this process has begun is likely to make Tsipras’s task easier. In January he attempted to maintain the balances between his party’s factions, which is something he no longer needs to do.

Also, party sources told Kathimerini that the defections also provide Tsipras with the opportunity to invite candidates of other political persuasions to join the SYRIZA ticket. The party leadership is hoping that a meeting of the SYRIZA central committee this week will lead to an inclusive message being sent out by the leftists as they seek to draw up their lists for the snap elections.

In contrast, New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis is expected to make limited changes to his party’s candidate lists. The only exception might be the state list of candidates, who are not elected to Parliament directly by voters but according to the proportion of the overall vote that each party receives.

Meimarakis spoke with his predecessors Costas Karamanlis and Antonis Samaras over the weekend to ensure that they will both be on board for the campaign.

In an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata pledged that she would include new candidates on the Socialist party’s ticket but also called on members and supporters who have drifted away in recent years to return.

“Unity, renewal and expansion is the triptych that can lead to the creation of the democratic and progressive alliance the country needs,” she said.

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