A “battle royale” at main opposition SYRIZA party’s ongoing conference in coastal southern Athens between president Stefanos Kasselakis and a bevy of internal party opponents took another unexpected twist over the weekend, with the former’s “throwing down the gauntlet” intent to renew his shaky mandate apparently thwarted.

A show-of-hands vote by attending delegates rejected Kasselakis’ proposal for no less than four ballot boxes to be set up within roughly a month, with a counter-proposal by a handful of top SYRIZA cadres expressing opposition. Kasselakis, a political newcomer who surprisingly won an internal party election last September to succeed Alexis Tsipras, was the recipient of a rebuke his successor on Friday, who pointed to another election to renew his disputed mandate.

The reasoning by those opposed to Kasselakis’ proposal is that European Parliament elections in June will serve as the determining factor over whether the former’s leadership is approved.

Various statements followed by the protagonists involved, including former minister Olga Gerovassili, who indicated that she would vie for the party’s helm against Kasselakis in any prospective election.

In a first reaction after his proposal was voted down, Kasselakis said, “…Guys, enough. Masks have fallen, we’re not headed to elections, (but) we are going forward”.

As a result, he duly withdrew his proposal and “spined” the result as reinforcing unity in the main opposition party, which latest opinion polls show as collapsing in terms of voters’ preference.

The often-chaotic scenes from the conference at one point had Gerovassili speaking from the podium, asking Kasselakis to take back his bombastic statement of “bring me an opponent” to face in another election, with the latter immediately bolting from his front-row seat to join her on stage.

“We won’t head into an election if you withdraw your candidacy,” was Kasselakis’ quip-cum ultimatum to a slightly perplexed Gerovassili standing next to him on stage.

At another point, the one-time junior Goldman Sachs trader and erstwhile supporter of conservative incumbent PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, stood up from his seat, turned around and motioned with his hands to supporters to stop booing Gerovassili.