The resignation of former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from the leadership of SYRIZA has marked the end of the Greek Left as we came to know it during the economic crisis. A few months on, it is clear that Tsipras’ absence, coupled with the presence of newly-elected SYRIZA president Stefanos Kasselakis, has caused a dramatic shift in the left-wing party.

Party officials and members are quitting SYRIZA in droves. The most crucial wave of departures took place last week when eleven SYRIZA MPs declared their independence, claiming unreconcilable political differences with Kasselakis and his team, some of whom they described as “creating a toxic environment”.

The division within the main opposition party was reflected in last month’s polls, with PASOK moving into second place after PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s New Democracy. The socialist party led by 45-year-old Nikos Androulakis wants to make a comeback, and although its lead is slight (15.3% over SYRIZA’s 12.7%, according to Metron Analysis’), it is the first time PASOK has beaten SYRIZA in a poll since 2012, when the former was ousted from power. Since announcing his candidacy, Kasselakis, a newcomer to Greek politics, has been accused of moving the party to the right by both SYRIZA’s old guard and the younger generation who, along with Tsipras, have formed SYRIZA’s frontline in recent years.

On Monday, joined by the hundred or so members of the Central Committee who exited, the eleven MPs announced the formation of a new political movement under the name “New Left”. They include seven members of Tsipras’s old cabinet, who led SYRIZA’s efforts in government after the 2015 referendum and the political U-turn that kept Greece in the Eurozone: former Economics Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Alexis Charitsis, Effie Achtsioglou, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, Theano Fotiou, Sia Anagnostopoulou and Nasos Iliopoulos. Charitsis, who was named party leader, said the goal was to form a broader progressive alliance that would branch out to social democracy and the Green movement for the upcoming European elections. He is considered a moderate, having served as Economy and Interior minister during SYRIZA’s term in office.

Introducing the new formation’s red and green logo, Charitsis defended the “difficult decisions” the former government was forced to take, singling out the fiscal measures that ended the bailout austerity measures and the signing of the Prespa Agreement with North Macedonia in 2018. Achtsioglou, who sought to lead SYRIZA last summer but lost to Kasselakis, does not hold an official position within the parliamentary group, although she remains a focal point. She delivered the opening speech at Monday’s event, in which she said that choosing to leave SYRIZA had not been easy for the group, but was the “moral” choice.