Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's divided leftist Syriza party met on Thursday to thrash out its differences amid a mounting rebellion by far-left lawmakers who accuse the party of betraying its anti-austerity roots.
Greece narrowly averted an exit from the euro zone for now when it struck an 11th-hour deal with lenders this month on a third financial rescue, but that has cost Tsipras the support of about a quarter of his lawmakers and put Syriza on the brink of a split.The deepening crisis within Syriza is the most serious political challenge to Tsipras, who otherwise enjoys unrivaled domination of the Greek political scene and remains popular despite his sudden U-turn to accept stringent bailout terms.
Failure to assert his grip on Syriza and quash the far-left revolt could plunge Greece back into turmoil and risk derailing talks with European and International Monetary Fund lenders on a new 86 billion euro aid package to keep Athens afloat.
Roughly 200 members of Syriza's decision-making central committee gathered at an old movie theater in central Athens to decide whether to hold a regular, emergency congress or a referendum to redefine the party's strategy.
"At the moment there are two different strategies competing in the same party - one that wants Greece inside the euro and the other that wants Greece outside euro," Olga Gerovasili, the government spokeswoman told reporters as she arrived.