New poll shakes Greek politics as leftist civil war escalates –


A new poll published on Wednesday showed people’s growing discontent with the conservative Greek government just four months after its re-election, however, the leftist opposition Syriza party cannot capitalise on it amid an ongoing civil war in its ranks.

More than half (54.5%) of those who participated in the poll published by Star TV channel said they were not satisfied with the performance of the ruling conservative New Democracy party (EPP).

The percentage is estimated high given that the government was re-elected just four months ago, following a massive victory in national elections against leftist Syriza.

The respondents also emphasised rising prices as the main challenge the government needs to face.

Earlier this month, the conservatives were dealt a severe blow in the local elections as their candidates lost both municipalities of Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as a number of key regions.

In most cases, the collaboration of progressive candidates (leftist Syriza and socialist Pasok) managed to beat conservatives.

But the poll also showed that in practice, people’s discontent with the government is not capitalised by the opposition, as conservatives still totally prevail in Greece’s political scene regarding vote intention.

New Democracy ranks first with 36.6%, followed by Syriza, whose performance has significantly dropped to 12.9%, and Pasok (11.9%).

Leftist voters disapprove internal opposition

Analysts estimate that an escalating “civil war” within Syriza party is the reason why the main opposition cannot get back on its feet and face conservatives.

Following an intense internal voting process in late September, Stefanos Kasselakis, a 35-year-old US resident and businessman, previously unknown in Greece, managed to win and replace former leader and prime minister Alexis Tsipras in Syriza’s leadership.

Read more: A ‘stranger’ becomes Greek left boss, shakes political system

But since then, the Pandora’s box has opened in the main opposition as traditional leftist veterans never accepted the result of the internal vote, in which every citizen could participate.

The result was seen as a message of voters against the political establishment and in favour of new faces outside Greece’s political spectrum.

But lately, tensions escalated with several leftist politicians openly questioning Kasselakis’ leadership. Some resigned, while others were sacked by Kasselakis.

Most of them had previously heavily criticised Alexis Tsipras too when the latter was leading the party.

The “veterans” accuse Kasselakis of political ignorance, while the Syriza leader’s advocates blame them for not respecting people’s vote.

But according to the poll, 77.7% of those who intend to vote for Syriza in the next elections said Kasselakis so far is leading the party in the right direction, while 76.2% noted that the veterans’ internal opposition does not help the party remain united.

Possible split?

Analysts and the local press do not rule out a possible split of the party, which will be considered good news for socialists who have been waiting for years to become again the main opposition party.

Others insist that the result of local elections showed that socialists and leftists joining forces is a one-way street to remove the conservatives from the country’s leadership.

Meanwhile, a Syriza source in Athens told Euractiv that the delegation of Syriza in the European Parliament does not help the situation either considering that almost all MEPs are against Kasselakis.

For its part, the EU left, which Syriza is affiliated with, before the elections called on the party to remain united. But after the elections it has so far kept its distance from Syriza politics.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos |

Read more with EURACTIV

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