Kasselakis: Expulsion is long-overdue for 'those who have damaged SYRIZA'

Stefanos Kasselakis

At SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance's Central Committee meeting on Saturday leader Stefanos Kasselakis spoke extensively about the four key members who are facing expulsion and have also been referred to the party's Ethics Committee.

Posting a video in social media on Friday, the recently elected main opposition party leader had said he was willing to hold a referendum by party members on the fate of Nikos Filis, Panos Skourletis, Dimitris Vitsas and Stefanos Tzoumakas. On Friday, senior cadre Skourletis and founding member Nikos Voutsis announced that they are leaving the party.

Speaking firmly, Kasselakis said he calls on everyone to "clearly express their actual position, not what they wish to see happen", urging for "a great, resounding majority that will leave no margins for misinterpretation."

In this case, 'position', Kasselakis noted, "means that these people who have been insulting the party should not be its members or be able to represent it." This stance "should also be clear to Syriza's Ethics Committee, who ought to convene and decide by the end of next week", he noted.

Otherwise, Kasselakis pointed out, "I will have no other option but to ask Syriza's members and friends for their say", something "that can be done by request of a mere 15% [of members and party friends], as foreseen by party protocol."

At this point in proceedings, members of the audience reacted enough to require the intervention of moderator Panagiotis Rigas to restore order in the room.

A short while later, key Syriza politician Euclid Tsakalotos and his team left the room, as did the working teams of former Syriza minister Effie Achtsioglou and Dionisis Temponeras. Tsakalotos said that the reason for walking out is that the Presidium rejected their request to put Kasselakis' proposed internal referendum under debate on Saturday.

Kasselakis then listed several criticisms levelled against himself and against the party at large by specific people, pointing out that "in any other party these executives would have been expelled within hours - if not minutes."

Yet in Syriza, he added, these executives "who insult you, us, and who are calling our voters mere 'followers' and other derogatory names, are still here weeks after making their insults public in media." Here, Kasselakis openly wondered how long this situation can or should be endured by all, especially seeing as time is of the essence, he noted.

Some "have made their decision to create a problem for Syriza instead of listening to what society has to say," he added, and "for as long as they will make supposedly 'left-wing' politics with long and vague scripta, our Left will restore the rule of law and labour rights in Greece, and will intervene in issues like the housing and climate crises, poverty and human rights."

Referring to former prime minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, Kasselakis urged attendees to recall the numerous times when Tsipras "was standing against New Democracy policies while also trying to contain inappropriate statements that harmed Syriza and slashed or knocked down his [electoral] percentages."

Syriza has been a divided party for many years, noted Kasselakis, "but it didn't want to admit it" therefore "today is the day this should be accepted as fact," as the "departure of the executives under expulsion is not Syriza 'splitting' apart - but the beginning of unity, and unity begins now," he stressed.

READ MORE: Mitsotakis says “all available tools” will be used to keep supermarket prices down.

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