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Greece's far left Syriza party to hold emergency congress

July 31, 2015

Greece's left wing SYRIZA party will hold an emergency congress in September. The aim is to try and settle the rift between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the party's left wing

Griechenland Alexis Tsipras in Athen
Image: Reuters/Y. Kourtoglou

The SYRIZA party is seen as sliding toward a split prompted by a rebellion by about a quarter of the party's Left Platform legislators who voted against austerity measures that were part of the conditions agreed on July 13 in Brussels to secure up to 86 billion euros (94 billion dollars) in new financing.

According to analysts the party differences challenge Tsipras' authority and complicate Greece's bailout negotiations.

It began when a faction of left wing SYRIZA legislators turned against Tsipras when Parliament voted on the bailout, which passed only with support from opposition parties.

Thus the party congress that has been proposed by Prime Minister Tsipras is seen as a test of his leadership.

In a televised address to the central committee, Tsipras warned that the government could fall if it was not supported by its leftist deputies.

"The first leftist government in Europe after the Second World War is either supported by leftist deputies, or it is brought down by them because it is not considered leftist," he said.

As conflicts arose in the central committee, a meeting was called to attempt to settle those differences over whether Tsipras should have accepted Greece's third bailout from international creditors.

IMF members arrive in Athens

The central committee meeting coincided with the arrival in Athens of the International Monetary Fund's head of mission, Delia Velculescu.

According to a report in Thursday's Financial Times, an internal document showed the IMF board had been told that Greece's levels of debt and past record of slow or non-existent reform disqualify it for a third.

According to the leaked IMF document, the Washington based lender could take months to decide whether it will take part in a fresh bailout.

The IMF's Velculescu was due to join the other international creditors: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism.

The four institutions are due to meet Friday with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis.

av/lw (dpa, AP)