Ahead of Greek Election, Syriza’s “Lost Generation” Deserts Tsipras

Renee Maltezou, Reuters, September 4, 2015

So divided has Syriza’s youth wing become over the direction of Greece’s leftist party, that when its council planned to convene at the end of August, the meeting was abandoned. Too many of its 71 members were on the point of quitting.

The incident showed the disillusionment Syriza’s twenty-somethings feel with leader Alexis Tsipras, the former Communist student activist they once celebrated as one of their own.

In just seven months as premier, Tsipras, under pressure from Greece’s creditors, has backtracked on his pre-election promises to end austerity.

“Syriza’s youth is almost over, very few people are staying behind,” said one of those who walked out.

Tsipras has called an election on Sept. 20 in an effort to win a fresh mandate to push through the economic reforms that are a condition of Greece’s latest 86 billion euro bailout.

But Syriza’s lead over its rivals has crumbled, with one poll this week showing the conservative New Democracy party in front.

Support from those aged 18-44–once the backbone of Syriza’s support according to pollsters–has plummeted. The most popular party for 18-24-year-olds now is the far right Golden Dawn, while Syriza languishes in fourth place, data by the pollster Alco show.

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{snip} Young Greeks have been hit especially hard by the debt crisis, with more than half of those aged 15-24 out of work, the highest proportion in Europe. Many live at home, supported by their parents and grandparents, or emigrate.

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