SYRIZA leftists have given a clear indication in Parliament of the type of opposition politics they plan to engage in against Greece’s newly elected conservative administration. And that hasn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, the party of Alexis Tsipras, the country’s former prime minister, has made it clear that it will seek to oppose the government on every possible front, both inside the House and on the streets.
It was popular protests and a strategy of polarization that enabled SYRIZA to climb to power. Meanwhile, judging from its share in the July elections, where it garnered 31.53 percent of the vote, SYRIZA essentially got away with its despicable record during its time in government. The party leaders and officials are very deft when it comes to divisive discourse and artfully disguise their hollow existence behind it. So why would they change their strategy?
Sure, it is rather unpleasant for a journalist to have to analyze the policies of the opposition rather than monitor the party in power. However, by now it has become clear that SYRIZA leaders and their fans in the media will not give up their bad habits easily. We saw Tsipras hammering away at the government in Parliament with his trademark insolence over policies that he and his government were busy implementing up until a month ago.
The former prime minister accused the government of planning to dismantle the country’s democratic institutions, of seeking to build a strictly and centrally controlled partisan state in the style of Hungary’s Victor Orban or Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, of controlling the news media and so on.
And these words were actually coming from a man whose party over four years did everything in its power to undermine the nation’s institutions, to hijack the state apparatus, to control the media, to spread lies and misinformation, and to slander their political rivals.
Some might counter that all that is within the rules of the parliamentary game. But this is not quite true. SYRIZA’s leaders veered beyond the limits of what is politically acceptable and tried to impose their own rules, which went as far as trying to hold the next government to ransom in order to consolidate its failure.
Installing Vassiliki Thanou as head of the country’s independent Competition Commission was part of that plan.