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Politics

SYRIZA Leader’s Election Reach-out to Varoufakis, Course of Freedom Rebuffed

ATHENS – With European Parliament elections looming in June, Greece’s major opposition SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis’ approach to two minor Leftist parties was rejected, denting his hopes of gaining on the ruling New Democracy.

He was said to have reached out to Yanis Varoufakis, a former SYRIZA finance chief who left the party to form the fringe MeRA25 no longer in Parliament, and Zoe Konstantopoulou – a former SYRIZA stalwart- who heads the Sailing for Freedom party.

He got nowhere fast with them, the outspoken Konstantopoulou – a former Parliament Speaker before she fell out with then-Premier and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras – saying Kasselakis “is a man who fell from the sky.”

That was a reference to the Greek-American businessman coming out of nowhere late in 2023 to take over the party when Tsipras resigned after another election rout by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Conservatives.

“He has the image of a political ‘tourist,’ a person being shown around the political life and the life of Greece,” Konstantopoulou told Real FM radio of Kasselakis, who has struggled to get the party back to life, slipping further behind New Democracy.

She said that Kasselakis “does not carry the sins of those who governed, who violated the popular mandate, who violated the referendum mandate, and who implemented the most anti-social policies.” But she said that, “He is the leader of a party of which he seized control through a hostile takeover.”

Varoufakis, who has faded into near obscurity after once dominating headlines during the early part of SYRIZA’s shaky 2015-19 reign that saw him clash with European Union bailout lenders, rejected Kasselakis outright.

“There will be no invitation from Stefanos Kasselakis because if he invites us to a discussion, the oligarchs will ‘cut off his funds’,” Varoufakis told Parapolitika radio, also ruling out any idea of working with former colleague Konstantopoulou.

Sailing for Freedom has only six seats in the 300-Member Parliament and is polling just above the 3 percent threshold needed to get back into the body in the next elections while MeRA25 was voted out after Varoufakis faded into the background.

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