SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis will reportedly “dig deep” into his own pocket this month in order to cover expenses for the leftist party until the end of the month – in an unprecedented gesture for a major political party in the country, at least for the past few decades.
Sources close to the once formidable leftist party, which was in government between 2015 to 2019 with Alexis Tsipras at its helm and in the prime minister’s seat, nevertheless maintained that the sum is a “loan” on the part of Kasselakis, a former junior Goldman Sachs trader turned shipping investor turned Greek leftist party leader.
According to reports, the loan in question hovers at the 200,000-euro mark and will cover the salaries of party staff this month, while keeping SYRIZA “in the black” for fiscal 2023.
SYRIZA’s coffers took a hit from reduced state funding this year (and in coming years) as the party lost back-to-back general elections last May and June. Tsipras, once the political firebrand and maverick, resigned over the summer, with newcomer Kasselakis upsetting a handful veteran cadres to assume the party’s reins in September. Eleven current MPs, including two rivals he defeated, subsequently quit the party to form their own group, along with hundreds of cadres.
Two rounds of an internal party election, the ones Kassselakis won, also drained the party’s finances.
The same reports in Athens on Wednesday, which coincidently is Kasselakis’ name day (the feast day of St. Stephen in the Eastern Orthodox calendar), have the two sides, the party’s president and the party, signing a loan agreement in order to ensure the legality of the transaction. Details are still pending on whether the loan will be interest-bearing and its duration.
Under Greek law anything amount above 20,000 euros cannot be bestowed or gifted to a political party.