Stefanos Kasselakis and Efi Achtsioglou are headed to a runoff next weekend for the leadership of the left-wing, main opposition SYRIZA party.
With 484 of 570 precincts reporting, Stefanos Kasselakis leads with 45.47%, followed by Achtsioglou (36.21%), Nikos Pappas (8.64%), Euclid Tsakalotos (8.40%) and Stefanos Tzoumakas (1.28%).
Kasselakis, 35, was a virtual unknown until recently. A 35-year-old former CEO of a shipping company he was an unconventional choice whose candidacy without a prior political activity – he part of Syriza’s countrywide list in May and June and was not elected – rankled many in the party.
Achtsioglou, 38, a former Labor Minister, was the early odds-on favorite, before Kasselakis’ candidacy changed the calculus.
If elected, Kasselakis will still be a year older than Alexis Tsipras was when elected SYRIZA leader in 2008. The lack of a perch in Parliament will be a disadvantage which he will have to overcome.
According to SYRIZA parliamentary group leader Sokratis Famellos, 147,000 voted, 40,000 of whom were registered as members on the spot. SYRIZA official have already tried to hype this as an exceptional turnout, even as evidence of a society eagerly waiting for the party to come back. But the socialist PASOK, the third largest party, attracted 270,706 voters in the first round of its own leadership contest, in December 2021 (207,658 showed up for the runoff).