A faction led by former Labor Minister Effie Achtsioglou, known as “6+6,” announced on Thursday it is breaking away from SYRIZA, in an anticipated move that followed a meeting of the faction earlier this week, further weakening the main opposition party now under the leadership of newcomer Stefanos Kasselakis.
The 57 members of the faction include nine members of parliament: Achtsioglou, Nasos Iliopoulos, Alexis Haritsis, Sia Anagnostopoulou, Hussein Zeybek, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, Meropi Tzoufi, Ozgur Ferhat, and Theano Fotiou. Haritsis and Iliopoulos, leading members of the group, are expected to express their intention to become independent in a letter sent to the president of parliament, Konstantinos Tassoulas.
SYRIZA now counts 36 MPs, while those who departed from the party and sit in Parliament as independents have risen to 11.
In a letter sent to the SYRIZA secretariat, the group said the party is experiencing a “dissolution crisis.”
“The new president of the party and his leadership group refuse to recognize and discuss the political core of the problem. Instead, they choose the interpretive scheme of the ‘enemy within’ and the ‘fifth column’. When they do not choose to launch attacks and insults, they resort to a simplistic, empty speech with generic slogans,” they faction said.
The group accused Kasselakis of “acting undemocratically,” adding that his message is “a jumble of contradictory opinions without any depth.”
“We, members of the Central Committee, are today departing from SYRIZA. The step we are taking starts from a hard admission. The situation that has been consolidated within SYRIZA does not allow us to defend, implement and renew the program and political plan based on which we claimed the support and vote of the citizens in the recent electoral contests.”
This will be the second major split within the party in the last few weeks, after the Umbrella faction, led by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, departed last week. On Monday, Tsakalotos hinted at the possibility of forming a new parliamentary group separate from SYRIZA, in cooperation with Achtsiglou’s “6+6″.
The nine lawmakers of Achtsiogou’s group, along with Tsakalotos and another MP who left SYRIZA, Peti Perka, complete the minimum number of parliamentarians required to form a new party.
It follows the mass resignation on Wednesday of 90 members of the Human Rights Sector of SYRIZA and the majority of its secretariat.
In a runoff vote in September, Achtsioglou lost to Kasselakis in the bid to succeed Alexis Tsipras as the leader of SYRIZA.