Coalition of the Radical Left – Progressive Alliance
Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς – Προοδευτική Συμμαχία
Sinaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás – Proodeftikí Simachía
AbbreviationΣΥΡΙΖΑ
SYRIZA
PresidentStefanos Kasselakis
General SecretaryRania Svigkou[1]
Parliamentary Group Leader and Leader of the OppositionSokratis Famellos
Parliamentary Group SecretaryDionysis Kalamatianos
Parliamentary Representatives
Press RepresentativeDora Avgeri
Founded15 January 2004; 20 years ago (2004-01-15)
Registered22 May 2012; 12 years ago (2012-05-22)
Preceded bySynaspismos
HeadquartersEleftherias Sq. 1, 105 53 Athens
NewspaperI Avgi
Think tankNicos Poulantzas Institute
Youth wingSYRIZA Youth
Membership (2022)Increase 172,000[2]
Ideology
Political positionCentre-left to left-wing
European affiliationParty of the European Left
European Parliament groupThe Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL
Colours  Pink
SloganΔίκαιη Κοινωνία. Ευημερία για Όλους.
Dikaie Koinonia. Evimeria gia Olous
("Just Society. Prosperity for All.")
Hellenic Parliament
36 / 300
European Parliament
4 / 21
Regional governors
0 / 13
Regional councillors
55 / 611
Mayors
3 / 332
Party flag
Website
www.syriza.gr Edit this at Wikidata

The Coalition of the Radical Left – Progressive Alliance (Greek: Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς – Προοδευτική Συμμαχία, romanizedSynaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás – Proodeftikí Simachía), best known by the syllabic abbreviation SYRIZA (/ˈsɪrɪzə/, Greek: ΣΥΡΙΖΑ [ˈsiriza]; a pun on the Greek adverb σύρριζα, meaning "from the roots" or "radically"),[6] is a centre-left[7][8][9] to left-wing[10][11][12] political party in Greece.[13] It was founded in 2004 as a political coalition of left-wing and radical left parties, and registered as a political party in 2012.[14][15]

A democratic socialist,[3] progressive[4] party, Syriza holds a pro-European stance.[16][7][17] Syriza also advocates for alter-globalisation, LGBT rights,[18] and secularism.[19] In the past, SYRIZA was described as a typical left-wing populist party,[20][21] but this was disputed after its government term[22] and its recent opposition.[23]

Syriza is the second largest party in the Hellenic Parliament. Former party chairman Alexis Tsipras served as Prime Minister of Greece from 26 January 2015 to 20 August 2015 and from 21 September 2015 to 8 July 2019. It is a member of the Party of the European Left.[24]

History

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Formation

Although Syriza was launched in 2004, before that year's legislative election, the roots of the process that led to its formation can be traced back to the Space for Dialogue for the Unity and Common Action of the Left (Greek: Χώρος Διαλόγου για την Ενότητα και Κοινή Δράση της Αριστεράς, Chóros Dialógou gia tin Enótita kai Koiní Drási tis Aristerás) in 2001.[25] It was made up of various organizations of the Greek political left, that, despite different ideological and historical backgrounds, held common ground in several important issues that had arisen in Greece in the late 1990s, such as the Kosovo War, privatizations of state businesses, and social and civil rights.[26]

The Space provided the ground from which participating parties could work together on issues such as their opposition to the neoliberal reform of the pension and social security systems, and the new anti-terrorism legislation, a review of the role of the European Union and a redetermination of Greece's position in it, and the preparation of the Greek participation at the 27th G8 summit in 2001.[27] Even though it was not a political organization, but rather an effort to bring together the parties and organizations that attended, the Space gave birth to some electoral alliances for the 2002 Greek local elections,[28] the most successful being the one led by Manolis Glezos for the super-prefecture of Athens-Piraeus. As part of the larger European Social Forum, the Space also provided the ground from which several of the member parties and organizations launched the Greek Social Forum.[29]

2004 legislative election

Further information: 2004 Greek legislative election

The defining moment for the birth of Syriza came in the 2004 legislative election. Most of the participants of the Space sought to develop a common platform that could potentially lead to an electoral alliance.[30] This led to the eventual formation of the Coalition of the Radical Left in January 2004.[31]

The parties that had formed the Coalition of the Radical Left in January 2004 were the Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos or SYN), the Renewing Communist Ecological Left (AKOA), the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), the Movement for the United in Action Left (KEDA), which was a splinter group of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Active Citizens, which was a political organisation associated with Manolis Glezos, and other independent left-wing groups or activists. Although the Communist Organisation of Greece (KOE) had participated in the Space, it decided not to take part in the Coalition of the Radical Left.[why?][32]

In the legislative election, the coalition gathered 241,539 votes (3.3% of the total) and elected six members to parliament. All six were members of Synaspismos, the largest of the coalition parties, which led to a lot of tension within the coalition.[citation needed]

Crisis and revitalization

Former leader of Syriza, Alekos Alavanos, speaking in Athens in 2007

After the 2004 legislative election, the smaller parties accused Synaspismos of not honoring an agreement to have one of its members of parliament resign so that Yannis Banias of the AKOA could take his seat.[33] Tension built up and resulted in the split of the Internationalist Workers Left and the formation of Kokkino (Red), both of which remained within the coalition. The frame of the crisis within SYRIZA was the reluctance of Synaspismos to adopt and maintain the political agreement for a clear denial of centre-left politics.[citation needed]

Three months after the 2004 legislative election, Synaspismos chose to run independently from the rest of the coalition for the 2004 European Parliament election in Greece and some of the smaller parties of the coalition supported the feminist Women for Another Europe (Greek: Γυναίκες για μια Άλλη Ευρώπη, Gynaíkes gia mia Álli Evrópi) list.[34]

The crisis ended in December 2004 with the 4th convention of Synaspismos, when a large majority within the party voted for the continuation of the coalition.[35] This change of attitude was further intensified with the election of Alekos Alavanos, a staunch supporter of the coalition,[36] as president of Synaspismos, after its former leader, Nikos Konstantopoulos, stepped down.[citation needed]

The coalition was further strengthened by the organization in May 2006 of the 4th European Social Forum in Athens, and by a number of largely successful election campaigns, such as those in Athens and Piraeus, during the 2006 Greek local elections. The coalition ticket in the municipality of Athens was headed by Alexis Tsipras, proposed by Alavanos who declared Synaspismos' "opening to the new generation".[citation needed]

2007 legislative election

Further information: 2007 Greek legislative election

Manolis Glezos during the 2007 elections
Party's youth in 2007

Opinion polls had indicated that Syriza was expected to make significant gains in the election, with predictions ranging from 4% to 5% of the electorate. On 16 September, it gained 5.0% of the vote in the 2007 legislative election.[37][38]

Prior to the election, the participating parties had agreed on a common declaration by 22 June. The signed Declaration of the Coalition of the Radical Left outlined the common platform on which it would compete in the following election and outlined the basis for the political alliance. The coalition of 2007 has also expanded from its original composition in 2004. On 20 June 2007, the KOE announced its participation into the coalition.[39] On 21 August, the environmentalist Ecological Intervention (Greek: Οικολογική Παρέμβαση, Oikologikí Parémvasi) also joined,[40] and the Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) also announced its participation in the coalition on 22 August 2007.[41]

On 2 September, the Areios Pagos refused to include the title of DIKKI in the Syriza electoral alliance, saying that the internal procedures followed by DIKKI were flawed. This was criticized by Syriza and DIKKI as inappropriate interference by the courts in party political activity.[42]

2007–2011 elections and developments

Six party leaders' televised debate ahead of the 2009 legislative elections. Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, is in the centre

On 27 November 2007, Alavanos announced that, for private reasons, he would not be seeking to renew his presidency of Synaspismos.[43] The 5th party congress of Synaspismos elected Alexis Tsipras, a municipal councillor for the municipality of Athens, as party president on 10 February 2008. Alavanos retained the parliamentary leadership of Syriza, as Tsipras was not at that time a member of parliament. Tsipras achieved considerable popularity with the Greek electorate, which led to a surge in support for Syriza in opinion polls, up to 18 percent of the vote at its peak.[44]

At the end of June 2008, Start – Socialist Internationalist Organisation (Greek: Ξεκίνημα – Σοσιαλιστική Διεθνιστική Οργάνωση, Xekínima – Sosialistiké Diethnistikí Orgánosi) announced that it would join the coalition.[45]

During the run-up to the 2009 European Parliament election in Greece, Syriza, amid turbulent internal developments, saw its poll share decrease to 4.7%, with the result that only one Syriza candidate (Nikos Hountis) was elected to the European Parliament. This caused renewed internal strife, leading to the resignation of former Synaspismos president Alekos Alavanos from his seat in the Greek parliament, a resignation that was withdrawn a few days later.[46]

In the 2009 Greek legislative election held on 4 October, Syriza won 4.6% of the vote (slightly below its 2007 showing), returning thirteen MPs to the Hellenic Parliament. The incoming MPs included Tsipras, who took over as Syriza's parliamentary leader.[citation needed]

In June 2010, Ananeotiki (Reformist Wing) of radical social democrats in Synapsismós split away from the party, at the same time leaving Syriza. This reduced Syriza's parliamentary group to nine MPs. The four MPs who left formed a new party, the Democratic Left (DIMAR).[citation needed]

2012 general elections

Further information: May 2012 Greek legislative election and June 2012 Greek legislative election

In a move of voters away from the parties which participated in the coalition government under the premiership of Lucas Papademos in November 2011, Syriza gained popular support in the opinion polls, as did the KKE and DIMAR. Opinion polls in the run-up to the May 2012 election showed Syriza with 10–12% support.[47] The minor Unitary Movement (a PASOK splinter group) also joined the coalition in March 2012.[citation needed]

In the first legislative election held on 6 May, the party polled over 16% and quadrupled its number of seats, becoming the second largest party in parliament, behind New Democracy (ND).[48] After the election, Tsipras was invited by the President of Greece to try to form a government but failed, as he could not muster the necessary number of parliamentarians. Subsequently, Tsipras rejected a proposal by the president to join a coalition government with the centre-right and centre-left parties.[49]

For the second legislative election held on 17 June, Syriza re-registered as a single party (adding the United Social Front moniker) as its previous coalition status would have disqualified it from receiving the 50 "bonus" seats given to the largest polling party under the Greek electoral system.[50] Although Syriza increased its share of the vote to just under 27%, ND polled 29.8% and claimed the bonus. With 71 seats, Syriza became the main opposition party to a coalition government composed of ND, PASOK, and DIMAR. Tsipras subsequently formed a Shadow Cabinet in July 2012.[51]

Unitary party

In July 2013, a Syriza congress was held to discuss the organisation of the party. Important outcomes included a decision in principle to dissolve the participating parties in Syriza in favour of a unitary party. However, implementation was deferred for three months to allow time for four of the parties which were reluctant to dissolve to consider their positions. Tsipras was confirmed as chairman with 74% of the vote. Delegates supporting the Left Platform (Greek: Αριστερή Πλάτφορμα, Aristerí Plátforma) led by Panayiotis Lafazanis, which wanted to leave the door open to quitting the euro, secured 30% (60) of the seats on Syriza's central committee.[52] A modest success was also claimed by the Communist Platform (Greek section of the International Marxist Tendency), who managed to get two members elected to the party's central committee.[53]

In its founding declaration, Syriza presented itself as a radical alternative, stating that

"The body we are establishing is a pluralistic body, open to the existence of different ideological, historical and value sensitivities and currents of thought. It is anchored by class in the labor and wider popular movement, but also with explicit feminist and ecological goals. It is already gathering forces and currents of the communist, radical, renewalist, anti-capitalist, revolutionary and libertarian Left of all shades, left-wing socialists, democrats, forces of left-wing feminism and radical ecology. Because it respects and considers differences like the above to be its wealth, it recognizes the possibility of different political considerations and provides ground for both these sensitivities and these considerations to be cultivated seamlessly and represented in the internal democracy, always aiming at promotional compositions. The organization we are establishing is an organization that systematically takes care of the theoretical understanding of social and historical development and the theoretical education of its members. It draws on Marxist and more broadly emancipatory thought and its history and tries to elaborate it further, making use of every important theoretical contribution."[54]

2014 elections

Further information: 2014 European Parliament election in Greece and 2014 Greek local elections

Local elections and elections to the European Parliament were held in May 2014. In the 2014 European Parliament election in Greece on 25 May, Syriza reached first place with 26.5% of vote, ahead of ND at 22.7%. The position in the local elections was less clear-cut, due to the number of non-party local tickets and independents contending for office. Syriza's main success was the election of Rena Dourou to the Attica Regional governorship with 50.8% of the second-round vote over the incumbent Yiannis Sgouros. Its biggest disappointment was the failure of Gabriel Sakellaridis to win the Athens Mayoralty election, being beaten in the second ballot by Giorgos Kaminis with 51.4% to his 48.6%.[citation needed]

Thessaloniki Programme

Main article: Thessaloniki Programme

On 13 September 2014, Syriza unveiled the Thessaloniki Programme, a set of policy proposals containing its central demands for economic and political restructuring.[55]

January 2015 election

Further information: January 2015 Greek legislative election

Syriza party chairman and former Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras in 2012

The Hellenic Parliament failed to elect a new President of State by 29 December 2014, and was dissolved. A snap legislative election was scheduled for 25 January 2015. Syriza had a lead in opinion polls, but its anti-austerity position worried investors and eurozone supporters.[56] The party's chief economic advisor, John Milios, downplayed fears that Greece under a Syriza government would exit the eurozone[57] while shadow development minister George Stathakis disclosed the party's intention to crack down on Greek oligarchs if it wins the election.[58] In the election, Syriza defeated the incumbent ND and became the largest party in the Hellenic Parliament, receiving 36.3% of the vote and 149 out of 300 seats.[59]

Syriza rally in Athens, May 2019

Tsipras was congratulated by French president François Hollande who stressed Greco-French friendship, as well as by leftist leaders all over Europe, including Pablo Iglesias Turrión of Spain's Podemos and Katja Kipping of Germany's Die Linke. German government official Hans-Peter Friedrich said: "The Greeks have the right to vote for whom they want. We have the right to no longer finance Greek debt."[60] The Financial Times and Radio Free Europe reported on Syriza's ties with Russia and extensive correspondence with the Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin.[61][62] Early in the SYRIZA-led government of Greece, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tsipras concluded a face-to-face meeting by announcing an agreement on boosting investment ties between the two nations.[63] Tsipras also said that Greece would seek to mend ties between Russia and European Union through European institutions. Tsipras also said that Greece was not in favor of international sanctions imposed on Russia, adding that it risked the start of another Cold War.[64]

Government formation

See also: Tenth austerity package (Greece), Eleventh austerity package (Greece), Twelfth austerity package (Greece), and Thirteenth austerity package (Greece)

On 26 January 2015, Tsipras and Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos agreed to form a coalition government of Syriza and ANEL, with Tsipras becoming Prime Minister of Greece[65] and Greek-Australian economist Yanis Varoufakis appointed Minister of Finance and Panos Kammenos appointed Minister of Defence.[66] In July 2015, Yanis Varoufakis was replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos as Minister of Finance.[67]

Party split and September 2015 election

Further information: September 2015 Greek legislative election

Following the acceptance of the third memorandum with the institutions on Greece's debt by Tsipras and the Syriza government, 25 Syriza MPs who rejected the terms of the bailout, including the party's Left Platform and the Internationalist Workers Left faction, split to form a new party Popular Unity (Greek: Λαϊκή Ενότητα, Laïkí Enótita, LE). They were led by Panagiotis Lafazanis.[68] Many other activists left Syriza at this time. International supporters of Syriza were divided, as some of its erstwhile backers felt that the party betrayed its voters and those abroad who had seen a radical promise in the party. Author and communist activist Helena Sheehan wrote that "Syriza was a horizon of hope. Now it is a vortex of despair."[69]

Having lost his majority in parliament, Tsipras resigned as Prime Minister on 20 August 2015, and called for fresh elections on September 20.[70] Although polls suggested a close contest between Syriza and ND, Syriza led ND by 7%, winning 145 seats; LE polled below the 3% threshold and had no parliamentary representation. Tsipras renewed Syriza's previous coalition agreement with ANEL, giving the new government 155 seats out of 300 in parliament.[71][72]

2019 elections

Further information: 2019 European Parliament election in Greece, 2019 Greek local elections, and 2019 Greek legislative election

On 26 May, following losses in the 2019 European Parliament election and the concurrent local elections, Tsipras announced a snap election.[73] During the legislative election in September, the party was defeated by ND. Following the result, Syriza moved into opposition.[74][75]

2023 elections

Further information: May 2023 Greek legislative election, June 2023 Greek legislative election, and 2023 Syriza leadership election

Following a full, four year term as the official opposition and despite polls suggesting a difference of 6 to 7% between Syriza and ND, Syriza lost the May election by a wide margin of 20.7%, retaining second position. As ND was unable to form a parliamentary majority, owing to the simple proportionality system passed by Syriza in 2016 that required 47% or more, a caretaker government was formed to lead the country to a second, snap election. In the June election, Syriza regressed to 17.83%, 2.24% lower than its May results, with ND losing only 0.23%, in an election marred by low turnout.

Even though Syriza did retain second place-and official opposition status, Tsipras resigned as party leader 4 days after the election, stating that he would remain involved in the party. Stefanos Kasselakis was elected leader, defeating Efi Achtsioglou in the second round. After winning the leadership election, Kasselakis said that he wanted Syriza to emulate the U.S. Democratic Party and move to the centre-left.[76]

Kasselakis election and splits

Upon taking office, Kasselakis began a redefinition of the party's positions. He rejected many of the old leftist positions of the party and formulated the view of a modern, patriotic, leftist party.[77] He set himself the goal of unmediated contact with voters, bypassing the party organs.[78] Kasselakis accused many members of the party organs of being bureaucrats who exclude grassroots communication with the party. His business background, his lightning-fast rise, and the publication of his earlier writings supporting Kyriakos Mitsotakis and New Democracy have brought him into conflict with prominent party members and former ministers.[79][80] Members of the party's internal opposition called him alt-right, Donald Trump and Pepe Grillo, leading to their expulsion from the party.[81][82] At the Central Committee meeting, Kasselakis again attacked the party organs and the entire internal opposition,[83] leading to the departure of Umbrella, the party's left-wing tendency, 45 Central Committee members, and two MPs.[84] On 16 November, MEP Petros S. Kokkalis announced his departure from the party with the intention of founding a Green party, later founding the party Kosmos.[85][86] On 23 November 2023, nine MPs, one MEP, and 57 central committee members announced their withdrawal from the party. Among them, were former minister Efi Achtsioglou, the main opponent of Kasselakis in the internal party elections, and other former ministers.[87] Commenting on the split, Kasselakis stressed that a cycle of introversion is closing.[88] In November 2023, SYRIZA was polling in third place for the first time in over eleven years.[89] In early December 2023, those that split from the party formed the New Left party.[90]

2024 European Parliament election

Further information: 2024 European Parliament election in Greece

The 2024 European parliament election was the first one where Stefanos Kasselakis was the leader of the party and the first one after Brexit. Syriza failed to increase its percentage from the 2023 legislative election and didn't win a single province, while also loosing two MEPs (pre-split). However, the party still managed to retain second place with 14.92% and 4 MEPs. Due to the massive fall of New Democracy, Syriza managed to close the difference from more than 20% in the legislative elections to 13.3%.[91][92]

The weakened government and the failure of PASOK to establish itself as the opposition led to talks of a united centre-left between PASOK and Syriza, who are considering a plan to have a shared candidate in the next legislative election in 2027. Major supporters of this are Nikos Pappas from Syriza and Haris Doukas from PASOK.[93][94][95]

Ideology

The main constituent element of the original coalition was Synaspismos, a democratic socialist party, but Syriza was founded with a goal of uniting left-wing and radical left groups. Syriza is influenced by the democratic road to socialism associated with Nicos Poulantzas,[96][97][98][99] but is broadly inclusive of various schools of democratic socialist thought intersecting with Marxism, market socialism, and Trotskyism; as well as social democrats, Maoists and Marxist-Leninists.[100] Additionally, despite its secular ideology,[101] many members are Christians who are anti-clerical and opposed to the privileges of the state-sponsored Church of Greece.[102] From 2013, the coalition became a unitary party, although it retained its name with the addition of United Social Front.[14]

Syriza had been characterized as an anti-establishment party,[103][104] whose success had sent "shock-waves across the EU".[105] Although it has abandoned its old identity, that of a hard-left protest voice, becoming more left-wing populist in character, and stating that it would not abandon the eurozone,[106] its chairman Alexis Tsipras has declared that the "euro is not my fetish".[107] The Vice President of the European Parliament and Syriza MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis stated that Greece should "be a respectable member of the European Union and the euro zone",[108] and that "there is absolutely no case for a Grexit".[109] Tsipras clarified that Syriza "does not support any sort of Euroscepticism",[110] though the party was seen by some observers as a soft Eurosceptic force for advocating another Europe free of austerity and neoliberalism.[111][112] Since governing, the party took a more pro-Europeanist stance, saying that its regulatory reforms, while remaining in the Eurozone, enabled the government, in the words of Filippa Chatzistavrou, "to better address negative externalities and spillovers between Greece and other EU Member States."[7] By 2019, Syriza was said to have become a mainstream centre-left party, taking advantage of the traditional centre-left PASOK's collapse.[7] Tsipras stated that his goal was to build a broad progressive front without abandoning the party's core ideology and left-wing coalition.[113]

During the party's time in government, SYRIZA practised a soft neoliberal policy of austerity, despite its vocal anti-neoliberalism, which contradicted its pre-electoral pledges, ideological outlook, political practice, and its own history, being stuck in populist rhetoric and what are termed "symbolic politics", unable to preserve its radicalism. Observers' analysis has revealed similarities with the previous PASOK governments, in particular the party's outlook from 1974 to 1981.[114]

Nevertheless, Syriza has remained a radical left-wing party. This is arguably demonstrated by the positions of the Coalition of the Radical Left-Progressive Alliance (SYRIZA-PS) as approved by its 3rd Congress in 2022 which argued, amongst other things, that

“(1) 1.1. The world is still living in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic while the death toll continues to rise. The end of the tragedy is still in sight, while experts warn that similar pandemics in the near future are not at all improbable: capital is constantly expanding its fields of activity in order to make more profit in defiance of such risks. Thus, the boundaries between life forms and their endurances are unhesitatingly trampled, viruses that are endemic without problem in one species can be lethal to another, human life itself has become correspondingly vulnerable. This is yet another manifestation of the fact that the relations imposed between the dominant mode of production and nature have come to destroy the ecological balance of the entire planet and now threaten even the human species as a species. Ever-increasing ecological catastrophe (overheating, climate crisis, desertification, deforestation, pollution of soil, subsoil, air, rivers, lakes and seas) threatens the resilience of societies and economies and clearly challenges their very survival. (2) 1.2. Pandemics and ecological disaster are universal phenomena that require universal solutions. The issue has become widely understood, some timid efforts have been made to address it, but they remain, precisely, timid. Capital's broader policy, seeing immediate and high-yield profitable opportunities, exploits crises to strengthen its own dominance while reforming only as pressured by relevant movements and international public opinion. The recent UN climate conference (COP 26) made this abundantly clear. (3) 1.3. This oligarchy is directly linked to the crisis of the capitalist mode of accumulation and the consequent restructuring of the capitalist mode of production. The one called "neoliberalism". Under its terms, the deregulation of the labor market and the extreme forms of exploitation of labor power, the 'creative' destruction of unprofitable capital, the shrinking to the intended death of small and medium-sized entrepreneurship, the waste and destruction of natural resources and ecosystems , the privatization of public/social goods – land, subsoil, sea depths, drinking water, forests, coastline, cultural heritage – and the fields of social reproduction – health, education, housing, social security, energy – seal the dominance of the financial sector. With the consolidation of casino-capitalism, with tax 'havens', with offshoring, with huge scale money laundering from the main criminal hotbeds – drugs, weapons, international human trafficking (trafficking), migrant trafficking – and with 'high' corruption.” [115]

In a 2023 interview, Syriza leader Stefanos Kasselakis clarified (in answer to a question) Syriza’s position and his views on Marxism:

"Your party draws its origins from the communist left. Do you respect this heritage, of which Marxism is a key element? Or do you think the new SYRIZA should divorce Marxism?"

"Let me correct you: SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance gathers within it people with origins from the communist left - "orthodox" and Euro-communist - but also from the area of democratic socialism, political ecology, social democracy and the democratic center, just as it describes and its proclamation. However, Marxism remains "fresh" as long as it does not turn into dogma and gospel. Marx himself was a pioneer in his time. Our goal is to pioneer and innovate in our time, seeking answers to modern problems that did not exist in Marx's time. For the radical change of production and work itself due to Artificial Intelligence, for example. We are inspired by the framework of ideas that defined the global left in all its manifestations and at the same time we try to open new paths for the new needs arising from scientific and technological development, the climate crisis, the great geopolitical changes."[116]

Group of 53/Umbrella

The Group of 53, also known as 53+, are a faction within Syriza. The group was founded in mid-2014 and stands ideologically between the Left Platform and Tsipras's core backers. Both Euclid Tsakalotos and Gabriel Sakellaridis are members of the group. Another member of the group was Tassos Koronakis, the former secretary of the Syriza Central Committee who resigned following the announcement of the snap elections in September 2015.[117] Since 2015, the group has been the main internal opposition to Tsipras' leadership, and has also used an alternative name, the "Umbrella". On 11 November 2023, after a very tense meeting of the Central Committee, 45 members of the Central Committee belonging to Umbrella announced their withdrawal from the party. Among them are former ministers such as Euclid Tsakalotos, Nikos Filis, Dimitris Vitsas, Panos Skourletis, Thodoris Dritsas, Andreas Xanthos, and the former Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Nikos Voutsis.[118] The majority (9 MPs 1 MEP) of which later formed the New Left Party[88]

Left Platform

See also: Popular Unity (Greece)

The Left Platform were a faction within Syriza, positioned ideologically on the far-left of the party.[117] In August 2015, 25 Left Platform MPs within Syriza left the party and formed Popular Unity to contest the snap elections. The grouping was led by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis.[119]

Former constituent parties

Coalition supporters in a 2007 rally in which flags of Synaspismos, AKOA, DIKKI, and Kokkino can be seen as well as those of the coalition itself

Syriza as a unitary party was formed through the merger of the following parties (in English alphabetical order):[100]

Party Ideology
Active Citizens Democratic socialism, patriotism
Anticapitalist Political Group Communism, Trotskyism, anti-capitalism
Citizens' Association of Rigas Patriotism, internationalism, democracy, ecology, social justice[120]
Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology Democratic socialism,[121] eco-socialism,[122] Eurocommunism,[123] environmentalism,[121] feminism[121]
Communist Organization of Greece Communism, Maoism
Democratic Social Movement Left-wing nationalism, socialism,[124] Euroscepticism[125]
Ecosocialists of Greece Eco-socialism, green politics
Internationalist Workers' Left Revolutionary socialism, Marxism, Trotskyism
Movement for the United in Action Left Communism, Marxism–Leninism
New Fighter Democratic socialism, social democracy
Radical Left Group Roza Luxemburgism, feminism
Radicals Democratic socialism, patriotism
Red Communism, Trotskyism
Renewing Communist Ecological Left Eurocommunism, environmentalism
Union of the Democratic Centre Radicalism, social liberalism, centrism
Unitary Movement Democratic socialism, social democracy

The party also includes a number of independent leftist activists.

After the creation of the unitary party in 2013 some of the constituent members decided to dissolve, such as Synaspismos, Renewing Communist Ecological Left, Ecosocialists of Greece and Unitary Movement.[126][127][128]

After the third Memorandum of Understanding with the European Stability Mechanism was accepted in 2015, organizations like Internationalist Workers' Left, Active Citizens, New Fighter, Democratic Social Movement, Anticapitalist Political Group and the Communist Tendency (Greek section of IMT) joined the Left Platform to create Popular Unity.[citation needed]

The Communist Organization of Greece also left Syriza at that time.[129]

Criticism

The party has been criticized for the way it approaches far-left terrorism in Greece.[130][131][132][133]

Thodoris Dritsas, a member of SYRIZA and ex-minister, drew criticism when he declared that "no one has been terrorized, I believe, by the action of these terrorist organizations. No one has been terrorized by the 17 November Group. On the contrary, the Greek people have been terrified by too many other policies". SYRIZA and Dritsas retracted that statement later on.[134] On the issue of SYRIZA's stance towards the terrorist organization 17N, the party has also been criticised as people who are or were affiliated with the party have testified as defense witnesses during the organization's trial.[135][136][137] In 2021, the party drew criticism again as fifteen of its members published a declaration supporting 17N's leading member Dimitris Koufontinas, after he went on a hunger strike as a result of his demanding to be moved to another prison facility.[138]

SYRIZA's Triantafyllos Mitafidis was also criticized after he declared "enough with the obsession with legality. I cannot accept the opinion that we respect the decisions of the Greek Council of State".[139]

Election results

Hellenic Parliament

Election Hellenic Parliament Rank Government Leader
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/−
2004A 241,539 3.3% +0.1
6 / 300
Increase6 4th Opposition Nikos Konstantopoulos
2007 361,211 5.0% +1.7
14 / 300
Increase8 4th Alekos Alavanos
2009 315,627 4.6% –0.4
13 / 300
Decrease1 5th Alexis Tsipras
May 2012 1,061,265 16.8% +12.2
52 / 300
Increase39 2nd
Jun 2012 1,655,022 26.9% +10.1
71 / 300
Increase19 2nd
Jan 2015B 2,245,978 36.3% +8.5
149 / 300
Increase78 1st Coalition government
(SYRIZA–ANEL)
Sep 2015 1,925,904 35.5% –0.8
145 / 300
Decrease4 1st Coalition government
(SYRIZA–ANEL)
2019 1,781,174 31.5% –4.0
86 / 300
Decrease59 2nd Opposition
May 2023 1,184,500 20.1% –11.4
71 / 300
Decrease15 2nd Snap election
June 2023 929,373 17.8% –2.3
47 / 300
Decrease23 2nd Opposition

A 2004 results are compared to the Synaspismos totals in the 2000 election.
B January 2015 results are compared to the combined totals for Syriza and OP totals in the June 2012 election.

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Votes % ±pp Seats won +/− Rank Leader
2009A 240,898 4.7% +0.5
1 / 22
Increase1 5th Alexis Tsipras
2014 1,518,608 26.6% +21.9
6 / 21
Increase5 1st
2019 1,204,083 23.8% –2.8
6 / 21
Steady0 2nd
2024 593,133 14.9% -8.9
4 / 21
Decrease2 2nd Stefanos Kasselakis

A 2009 results are compared to the Synaspismos totals in the 2004 election.

Representatives

As of June 2024, SYRIZA holds four seats in the European Parliament. These seats are held by:

Party leaders

No. Leader Portrait Term of office Prime Minister
1 Nikos Konstantopoulos 15 January 2004 12 December 2004
2 Alekos Alavanos 12 December 2004 11 February 2008
3 Alexis Tsipras 11 February 2008 24 September 2023 2015–2019
4 Stefanos Kasselakis 24 September 2023 Incumbent

Symbols

From its founding in 2004 till September 2020, Syriza was represented by three colored flags, each representing the three main pillars of its political positions, Red (Socialism), Green (Ecology) and Purple (Feminism). After the restructuring of the party in 2020, along with the logo change, the symbol was also changed to a star, made out of the Greek letters Σ and Υ.

Logos

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Bibliography

Further reading