SYRIZA’s poor polling numbers and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to make a strong shift to the centre-left is causing fissures along with backstabbing between comrades who are anxious about the outcome of the 26 May European Parliament election and even more about the general election, as a large number of current MPs will almost certainly lose their seats.
All polls give main opposition New Democracy a large lead over SYRIZA and the current electoral system gives the top party a 50-seat bonus in the 300-member legislature.
MPs and party cadres are anxiously watching Tsipras’ feverish efforts to turn the tables by pledging everything to the very middle class (or former middle class) voters whom he has brought to their knees through over-taxation in order to exceed primary surplus targets and offer electoral handouts.
Those concerns are heightened due to the fact that the government’s slew of handout and social benefits that are designed to lure voters does not appear to have substantially improved SYRIZA’s polling numbers.
Another issue that is dividing the ruling party’s MPs and cadres is Alexis Tsipras efforts to push the party to the centre-left in an effort to reconstitute the political and ideological hegemony that Pasok enjoyed for over three decades.
Opponents of the move argue that it will damage the party’s popularity among left-wing voters which were its base when SYRIZA was garnering only four or five percent of the popular vote, and many MPs still rely on that pool of voters.
At the same time the group of 53+, an informal internal opposition comprised of over 50 MPs and cadres that has pushed for the party not to abandon its old left-wing principles during the long bailout memorandum period, has fired warning shots against the emerging “Pasokification” of the erstwhile radical left-wing party.
Another apparent battle is being waged between former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias’ Pratto (I act) movement and the supporters of the “Bridge” initiative to attract former Pasok ministers and MPs.