Less than three weeks before Sunday, September 20, and SYRIZA numbers keep dropping in polls. The blows Alexis Tsipras is receiving keep coming from all directions, and they are really strong.
On Monday, his speech writer Theodoros Kollias resigned stating that SYRIZA has lost its founding ideals. On Tuesday, the SYRIZA Youth issued a statement saying they withdraw their support to the party in the upcoming elections. Also, the same day, another part of the SYRIZA coalition, the Communist Drift, left the party and will join new SYRIZA offshoot Popular Unity.
Every day that goes by, SYRIZA members are jumping off the boat as if they sense it is leaking. According to the conservative opposition, this is reinforcing the idea that the Greek Left can only denounce other policies, but is unable to govern.
Things don’t look promising for Tsipras, who only a few days ago was hoping that he would win a clear majority and form a government without the need of a coalition. But recent polls show that SYRIZA’s lead over New Democracy is at risk.
Watching Tsipras speak at the party convention this weekend, one would see something missing from the party leader: the sparkle in his eyes. The SYRIZA leader, along with one third of his comrades, seems to have lost his fire as well. Also, the once combative rhetoric has now become more staid, his promises more sparing, his attitude more compliant. The word “Left” is conspicuously missing from his vocabulary since he signed the memorandum of understanding with creditors. It is as if the visible expansion of his waistline stands as a cosmic symbol of him becoming more conservative, more complacent in his seat of power.
The SYRIZA leader has started feeling very alone. Looking at the faces in the front seats, the most familiar ones were missing. The most militant ones have joined the extreme leftists of Popular Unity. Along with them they took the false hopes their former leader was selling.
Now Tsipras has no hope to offer Greek people, the hope that was a big part of the party’s campaign slogan in January. Voters know that on September 21st, a day after they cast their vote, a barrage of taxes and cuts awaits them. In other words, there is no hope at the end of the ballot.
With the departure of the SYRIZA Youth from the voters pool, Tsipras’ chances of winning the race are getting slimmer. If the trend of withdrawals from the party continues, Tsipras will be very alone a few days before the election. His popularity is waning as days go by. His political opponents keep shouting in every tone that when it comes to signing bailout deals with austerity measures, he is one of them. Even their repeated calls for an all-party, special purpose government rob SYRIZA of its militant reputation, and its once fervent appeal to the young Greek voter.
SYRIZA is very weak and vulnerable at the moment. The “friendly opposition” of Popular Unity is doing it more damage as days go by. In social networks the party and its leader are ridiculed for the 180-degree turn from militant leftists to a more conservative, pro-euro political entity. The 20-24 percent the party gets in opinion polls is nothing compared to the 45-plus percentages they were getting just three months ago.
It is not impossible that until election day the boat might start sinking.