Alavanos offers to quit leftist SYRIZA

The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left’s (SYRIZA) parliamentary group Alekos Alavanos yesterday tendered his resignation from the party and offered to give up his seat in Parliament, but a final decision was put off until Monday. Alavanos, who between 2004 and 2008 was leader of Synaspismos Left Coalition that forms the main bloc in SYRIZA, offered his resignation but it was rejected by the party’s secretariat, which will examine the matter next week. It appears that Alavanos’s decision has been prompted by his falling out with 34-year-old Alexis Tsipras, who succeeded him as Synaspismos leader. SYRIZA was rocked by its poor performance in the European elections, garnering 4.7 percent of the vote, a far cry from its opinion poll ratings of almost 20 percent last year. On Tuesday, Alavanos replied enigmatically when asked whether he had regretted choosing Tsipras as his successor. «I have not yet made up my mind,» he told journalists. «We must re-examine everything from scratch.» His move to quit yesterday is seen by some as an effort to put pressure on Tsipras to step down. In the New Democracy camp, discussions about what the government’s next move should be following the European election defeat are likely to be put on hold for a few days as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is due to fly to Brussels today for a European Union summit. Some within ND expect Karamanlis to carry out a reshuffle next month and then decide by September whether he can risk calling a snap general election. One candidate who will not be representing ND at the polls is Argolida MP Yiannis Manolis, who yesterday confirmed he would step down in September. He has denied having any intention of joining another party, meaning he can be replaced in Parliament by another conservative.