European Socialist leader urges Greek left parties to cooperate

Hannes Swoboda MEP large.jpg

Greece's Socialist party needs to cooperate with the members of the leftist Syriza coaltion for the creation of a future alliance, said Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. EURACTIV Greece reports.

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) "must change," Swoboda, an Austrian MEP, told a seminar in Brussels, stressing that Syriza "is not a bunch of irresponsible people."

Syriza, or Coalition of the Radical Left, became the second largest party in Greece and the main opposition force after elections in June 2012. The centre-right New Democracy (ND) led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras won 29.66% of the votes, followed by Syriza with 26.89%. PASOK came third with only 12.28%.

Syriza has shaken up the Greek political landscape, which has been traditionally dominated by ND and PASOK.

The Syriza coalition comprises 13 political groups and independent politicians, including democratic socialists and green left groups, as well as Maoist, Trotskyist and Eurocommunist organisations. Its parliamentary leader is Alexis Tsipras, president of Synaspismós, the largest party in the coalition.

In his statement, Swoboda stressed that PASOK should focus on social issues, suggesting that the party had lost its appeal to the electorate and connection with society.

Swoboda recommended PASOK to link with the Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis, a junior coalition partner which clinched 6.25% of votes at the election, and with other "rational" people from Syriza, in order to form a unified left party.

“I would like to be honest with you. I would like PASOK to find a close way of talking and attracting the very reasonable people from Syriza. In this party, I found people who have a very deeply rooted left-wing yet constructive and serious position," Swoboda said.

"I think that the future left has to be drawn from PASOK, the Democratic Left and Syriza,” Swoboda said, highlighting his vision of "a movement” which would attract “a lot of people who are deprived of many of their social rights now.”

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