Undermining Tsipras from within - The role of Tsakalotos & Co.

Ω Spyros Gkoutzanis
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Undermining Tsipras from within - The role of Tsakalotos & Co., Spyros Gkoutzanis

The hospitality generously offered by the systemic media to SYRIZA officials who recently, inside and outside party organs, came up against Alexis Tsipras, is indicative of the scenarios that stand out against the political-entrepreneurial background. Scenarios that even envisage the creation of a new party, which will be more friendly, in the future, towards political cooperation with the main pillar of the political system, the New Democracy party.

After all, a powerful businessman and media owner who offers hospitality to his media, was one of the attendees at the dinner with former SYRIZA finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, a few days ago. The meeting was arranged by another powerful factor, this time the banking system, which, however, had the intelligence not to be present. The menu, however, had Tsipras as a main dish.

It is obvious that a part of the deep system appears disappointed with the rapid disintegration of the Mitsotakis government and scenarios are being worked out for the next day, which may never be implemented, but are producing results at present. The problem stems from the fact that the president of SYRIZA is not approachable and is mainly considered unpredictable.

At the same time, Tsipras does not guarantee that if he returns to power it will be business as usual. Therefore, there must be a force of pressure within the party that will manage the threat of withdrawal, or if things force it to implement it. In the meantime, however, it will put pressure on a "consensual opposition".

Tsakalotos is in the spotlight

The focus is de facto on Tsakalotos. In an interview with Vima tis Kyriakis (Sunday edition of To Vima), he insisted on his own views on the course of the center-left. In this vein, he said that "a leader based party is in the dust bin of history". It was the answer to Tsipras, who at the meeting of the Political Council of SYRIZA, before taking down Tsakalotos as shadow minister for Finance, had told him that "there is no dualism and co-presidency in the party". Previously, of course, Tsakalotos and some of the so-called movement of the "53" had given a taste of their intentions.

They had backed the Mitsotakis government in the most difficult problem it faces, the management of Greek-Turkish relations. They prevented the "no" of SYRIZA during the voting of the Greece-Egypt Agreement for the delimitation of the EEZ. At the same time, they have emerged as wanting haste in a dialogue with Turkey, which is likely to result in the loss of sovereign rights, given that only Turkish claims to Greek sovereign rights are on the table.

Somewhere in between, the "Geometrician", as his more toxic friends call Tsakalotos, took care to distance his stance from Tsipras when the latter described Mitsotakis as a "political swindler". As a party official commented with a dose of exaggeration, "correctly, how can one collaborate with a political swindler, in the future?".

The other "challengers"

However, "Ta Nea" also opened their hospitable pages last week, for the other internal party challenger Panos Skourletis, although this time he was careful. The former secretary of the party initiated the flurry of internal controversy a few months ago, accusing the magazine Documento of "neo-Avrianism" (a figure of speech coined during the Andreas Papandreou government refering to the slander sheet Avriani that backed PASOK in those days) and associating it with the president of SYRIZA. Skourletis often refers to "neo-Avrianism" at every opportunity, in front of party audiences.

The attacks that complemented Tsakalotou's statements about the course and the character that SYRIZA should have, came from another member of the same internal party group, Nikos Filis, who stated on the iefimerida website that "SYRIZA needs to be re-established in society, avoiding easy opposition tactics of simple denunciation ".

Of course, in his own interview, Tsakalotos declared his allegiance to Tsipras, while Filis, speaking this time to SKAI, covered the parliamentary representative, saying: "but if you ask Alexis Tsipras, he will agree as concerns the leader led party". Another, who is considered adhering to the same group within the party, is the former Speaker of Parliament, Nikos Voutsis, who is also a supporter of the consensual opposition and a calm political climate.

Of course, none of them aspires to succeed Alexis Tsipras. No one has a leadership profile. However, they would like to be able to dictate policy to the current president or his successor, whom they will nominate to the party body and promote. It is said that Efi Ahtsioglou was Tsakalotos' suggestion to succeed him in the position as shadow Finance Minister. Of course, Tsipras also surrounded Ahtsioglou with his confidence. Those who know her say that "of course she is ambitious, but whoever thinks that she will play someone else's game is grossly mistaken".

"It was a mistake to take over the government"!

The people who are “talking heads” in the news and those who take the lead in intraparty games are not the same at all. For example, Filis allegedly separated his stance from Tsipras' succession scenarios. But neither is questioning limited to those who are visible. There are many inside SYRIZA who are satisfied with being in the position of the second party, as long as the quotas in positions and placements are provided. Besides, the tendencies may have been abolished within SYRIZA, but as a party, it has not become homogenized.

There are always the naive who criticize the leadership from the position of ideological principles, even for the statement on the 15th of August, playing the role of the useful idiot. It is a given, however, that no one can directly challenge Tsipras. The predictable scenario is that in any case, Tsipras will lead the party in future elections. If, however, he does not win and especially if he gets a lower percentage than the 2019 elections, then the way will be open for succession.

By then the questioning of the leader, pluralism, and a looming sense of weakness will have done their job. They will act as a self-fulfilling prophecy and help him not to garner the necessary percentage. After all, within SYRIZA even now there are many who still believe that there was no need to take over the government in 2015. SYRIZA may well be the permanent second pillar of the system. Just as long as wages continue to be paid...

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