Greek PM focused on ‘progressive front’


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his aides reportedly remain focused on creating a “progressive front” of the center-left despite reactions from within SYRIZA and accusations by the Movement for Change (KINAL) that the ruling leftist party is trying to tap into its base.

These reactions were on full display at the weekend after Friday’s announcement that two former deputies who served under PASOK Premier George Papandreou would be included in the cabinet.

KINAL issued a statement accusing Tsipras of trying to “loot” the party while eyebrows were raised within SYRIZA itself where resentment among certain factions for the once all-powerful socialist party runs deep.

Moreover, an article published in the left-wing journal Epochi at the weekend warned that the move to include former PASOK officials in the cabinet provided further ammunition to the “anti-government” media to continue its war of attrition against the ruling leftist party.

The article – which was republished on the Commonality website which is affiliated to the radical faction within leftist SYRIZA known as the Group of 53 – argued that giving ministerial positions to former PASOK members boosted New Democracy’s narrative that Tsipras is offering cabinet posts in exchange for support.

It also insisted that the task to find common ground with officials of the center-left is “the job of the party and not of the government.” This task, it insisted, requires “very delicate moves.”

However, Minister of State Dimitris Tzanakopoulos sought to defend the recruitment of the two former PASOK officials.

“These choices show that SYRIZA and this government now cover a wider range of forces, if you will,” he told Athina 98.4 radio on Monday.

Furthermore, another SYRIZA official told Kathimerini that the party can no longer plot its future based on the past but rather must do so on the future and the fight against conservatism.

The bid to forge a “progressive front” has taken on more urgency ahead of European Parliament elections in May – and possibly national elections too.

With this in mind, Udo Bullmann, the top candidate for the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, and SYRIZA MEP Dimtiris Papadimoulis will address an event on March 4 which will also be attended by Tsipras.