A group of Greek lawmakers opposed to the country’s bailout program abandoned the governing party, Syriza, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras moved to force an early election to shore up his position.
The lawmakers, whose names were read out on Friday by a deputy parliament speaker on television from Athens, will be called “Popular Unity” and led by former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis. Twenty-five lawmakers form the new bloc, while local media reported another four parliamentarians quit Syriza without joining the breakaway.
“We won’t accept being in the euro area and having bailout programs imposed on us,” Lafazanis told reporters in Athens on Friday. If resisting the bailout means the nation exiting the euro area “this is in no way a catastrophe. It’s a path that can create hope and prospects for our country.”
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.