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Alexis Tsipras resigns as SYRIZA leader. What’s next? (Op-Ed)

In an unexpected move but not a surprised one after the crushing defeat on the June 25 elections, Alexis Tsipras announced on Thursday noon that he resigns as leader of left-wing SYRIZA. He will not be a candidate in elections for the new party leadership, he added.

This decision was taken after a meeting of the SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance Executive Bureau.

It is worth noting that Tsipras was in his home since Monday, June 26, and refrained from public statements or visiting the party headquarters.

“The new SYRIZA is the immediate priority,” he stressed from Zappeion.

“I understand the need for a new wave in SYRIZA. And I have decided to step aside so it can pass. I have confidence in the human resources of our party. In the inexhaustible forces of society and the Left. I therefore decided to propose the election of a new leadership by the members of the party, as stipulated in its constitution. An immediate recourse to the relevant procedures. In which, of course, I will not be a candidate. But I will be present before, during and after them,” he said.

Tsipras said that “the negative election result can and should be the start of it. The electoral body gave SYRIZA a double mandate. First, to respond to the role of main opposition. Which is always and de facto is the role of a party with potential to assume power. And secondly, to change drastically, if it wants to once again aspire to a governmental role with worth.”

He noted that “we must live up to this popular mandate. We must reorganize immediately and without any delay. Let’s not allow a single day to be lost, both in the confrontation with the New Democracy government and in the confrontation with our own weaknesses, ills and problems.”

48-year-old Alexis Tsipras was first elected as leader of the party in 2008 and remained n this position until June 29, 2023.

According to initial media reports, the elections for the new leadership are due in July.

So far, no names of candidates for the party leadership have been leaked to the press or in statements.

KTG Opinion for SYRIZA defeat, Tsipras wrong decisions and what’s next

Before Tsipras’ resignation there were two fronts within the party: one front wanted immediate replacement of the leader, while the other front wanted the change to take place after the Municipality and local governments elections in October 2023.

Tsipras himself had said on the night of the elections and the devastating 17%, that leadership change should take place after the European elections in 2024.

But real life is always much quicker than the comrades in SYRIZA that has lost big its original identity, it was not able to implement a robust opposition to the liberal policies of conservative New Democracy and was too weak to confront the political landscape with new challenges. In the last two years, it was mostly reacting like a lost puppy to each attack and even fake news produced by ND in order to degrade the left-wing main opposition in general and Tsipras in particular.

Not to mention that SYRIZA also carefully winked to far-rights and anti-vaxxers during its elections campaign.

Given the opportunists of PASOK who massively rushed to SYRIZA in 2015 when it was clear it would become government and helped it come to power, in 2023, PASOK-voters rushed to ND and some returned to PASOK.

Without them, SYRIZA is close to return to its old rates of 3%-5%, if it will not manage to find a new identity.

I predict it won’t. as there are still much to many “dinosaurs” in the party as well as “theorists and instructors” who have lost contact to the Greek society.

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