ATHENS – The rising PASOK-KINAL Socialist party has taken over second place in another survey, supplanting the declining SYRIZA as Greece’s major opposition party behind the ruling New Democracy.
The poll was taken by Metron Analysis for TV channel Mega and showed the Conservatives government with a runaway 30.5 percent with PASOK far behind at 12.2 percent and SYRIZA dropping to only 10.2 percent.
It was the third consecutive survey by different firms which showed the Leftists sliding further under the new leadership of Greek-American former bank trader and shipowner Stefanos Kasselakis.
He is trying to redefine the party that went from being the Radical Left under former chief and one-time premier Alexis Tsipras – who quit in June after being routed again by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Conservatives.
Coming out of nowhere, Kasselakis used a slick social media campaign to run past SYRIZA veterans to take over the party, dozens of them leaving the party in complaints he was taking it away from Leftist roots.
In the wake of defections and his booting of critics, the number of lawmakers in Parliament has fallen from 47 to 36 in the 300-member body, making SYRIZA essentially politically irrelevant as he’s trying to mount a comeback for it.
Addressing the dilemma head-on he told the first assembly of his party’s parliamentary group that, “Truth is on our side, and in due time we shall be vindicated,” trying to inject some optimism.
SYRIZA had 149 seats after winning the January, 2015 elections under Tsipras, who took it from obscurity to prevalence before breaking his campaign pledges that led to his being ousted in 2019 elections by Mitsotakis.
He noted that in the nearly nine years since winning that, “Obviously the country does change, as does society,” noting that “unfortunately, the conclusion is that there was a gradual disconnection of SYRIZA from society.”
This is “a reality that the party is now called to change,” he noted after he earlier said he wanted to make SYRIZA more like the American Democratic party but he pointed to its lesser standing in Parliament.
“Our moral parliamentary presence is, and will be, 47 MPs because this is what the Greek people chose,” although 11 of them recently left and will stay on as Independents, rejecting his call for them to give up their seats to SYRIZA.
He said that Greeks “are not going to forgive those who left for not respecting the code of conduct they co-signed to hand over their seats,” and accused them of “putting their own ambitions above society.”
The party “might have shrunk,” he noted, “but we are more united than ever before, with people waiting to hear our alternative proposals,” despite polls showing his message isn’t resonating and that they just aren’t listening.