Synaspismos in leftward shift

No sooner was Alekos Alavanos elected chairman of Synaspismos Left Coalition than he began to actualize his longstanding ambition of shifting his party toward the left of the political spectrum. The signs are already there. On a television program earlier this week, Synaspismos’s newly elected leader and a representative of the Communist Party were discussing the nomination of former PASOK minister Karolos Papoulias as president of the republic. The comments by the two politicians would have made one believe that they were both representatives of the same party. Papoulias, they agreed, is nothing more than «a solution to the question of the presidential candidacy within the limits of the two-party system.» Responding to arguments by New Democracy and PASOK officials on the same panel who said that a consensus on the candidate is stipulated by the Constitution and that the two-party system – which they castigated – is, in any case, not something that is imposed from above but the product of popular preference as expressed in democratic elections over the past 30 years, the Synaspismos and Communist Party officials were of one voice: «So much the worse for the people.» Of course, not that much time has elapsed since Alavanos, when former Synaspismos leader Nikos Constantopoulos was still among the favorites for the presidency, was saying that left-wing politicians should not stand for the presidency – a paradox indeed. At first, he did not want a left-winger for president; now he slams the nominee as a choice of the two-party system.