Greek leftist rallies allies in Slovenia
By Borut Mekina
Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras was in Slovenia over the weekend to try and rally political forces on the left ahead of the May EU election.
Tsipras, leader of Greece’s Syriza party and the New Left’s candidate to be president of the European Commission, said he felt at home in Slovenia, which has seen a surge in support for left-wing parties amid the economic crisis.
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Three of them - the Initiative for democratic Socialism (IDS), Sustainable Development Party (TRS) and Democratic Party of work (DSD) - have now joined the European New Left Party.
"Looking at Slovenia as a Greek I’m afraid that I’m watching a film whose ending I know,” Tsipras said, referring to the county's deep economic crisis.
The Slovenian parties, for their part, promised to fight against the "neoliberal zombie which breeds corruption, austerity, unemployment and poverty".
Luka Mesec, chair of the IDS party, said austerity measures in Slovenia meant €460 million in savings, but caused the country’s GDP to drop by €700 million.
Slovenia is one of just two member states (along with Cyprus) expected to remain in recession this year, according to European Commission forecasts.
Other parties in the New Left bloc include Germany’s Die Linke and France’s Parti de Gauche.
All want to emulate Syriza’s success, with Tsipras’ party currently polling top in Greece.
The young generation of Slovenian leftists are hoping that at least one of the eight MEPs Slovenia will elect to the European Parliament in May comes from their ranks
Their programme calls for economic and political transformation. They want progressive taxation, the nationalisation of too-big-to-fail banks, full employment and a shorter workday. Meanwhile, citizens should be more involved in political decision-making through consultative forums.