Sunday’s Elections A Big Challenge For PPGR

Sunday’s Elections A Big Challenge For PPGR
After negotiations the Pirate Party of Greece (PPGR) has decided to run for the elections on September 20. They will run with the help of a coalition formed together by two other parties, “Dimokratikoi and “koinonia axion“. The negotiations for a coalition and internal voting created an outcome with heated debates and disputes.
Spyros Chrysanthopoulos, honorary “Captain” of PPGR and one of the main coordinators of the preparation for the elections, spoke to Pirate Times. He explained the situation inside the party just before the polls open and emphasized that Sunday’s elections will be a big challenge for the party.
cptn Spyros
Spyros Chrysanthopoulos
Pirate Times: Why did you decide to participate in the elections?
Spyros Chrysanthopoulos: We want to be present in the Greek political scene!  We are 1 of the 19 parties and coalitions that run for these snap elections asking for the vote of the Greek citizens! Sunday‘s elections is a big challenge for our party! Although it is very difficult to make it on our own, as there is no funding from the state, we will always find a way to participate in the elections. We believe in the Pirate party, we want to see it grow and gain more members and supporters. That is why we fight! We are volunteers and activists of politics, paying the cost, not only the economic, giving all of our free time to the party.
Pirate Times: Last time we talked with Thanasis Gounaris, chairman of PPGR, we were told that the main plan is to run indepedently in the elections.
Spyros: Eventually PPGR will run for the snap elections with a coalition, but not as we planned it (i.e. with candidate MPs in almost all of the 56 regions)! We started the preparation long time ago this year and issued an open invitation in which many members and friends of the party responded positively. According  to our initial planning we wanted to have at least one candidate per region. At  the same time Board members started negotiations with other political parties and movements investigating the possibility of an electoral partnership. We met with a group of the “green” parties, also with members of the movement “Den Plirono“, activist groups and other parties not represented in the Greek parliament in recent years.
We also met with Laiki Enotita” (“LA.E.”), the party of P. Lafazanis who left SYRIZA with 25 MPs and became the 3rd biggest in the country. We asked “LA.E.” the opportunity to have a candidate MP in an electable position. Snap elections are with list and the voters do not need to put a cross to the candidate of their preference. After the refusal of “LA.E” we received a written proposal for electoral cooperation by two other parties,Dimokratikoi” and “koinonia axion. We put the proposal into voting for members to decide whether they accept it or not.
The  proposal was accepted by an overwhelming majority, 69%, but created internal  debates and controversies about whether it collected the required rate of 2/3 +1 vote provided by our statutes or not. As it usually happens inside the Pirate parties, the contradiction created internal fights and disagreements about the interpretation of the voting. Controversy reached its peak during a stormy meeting where three of seven board members resigned. Fortunately, with the intervention of the calmer ones, waivers were withdrawn in the following days, but that does not mean that the climate inside the party is calm. The party is like a “boiling cauldron” as we are heading for our 4th Congress.
Pirate Times: Do you think that just the interpretation of the voting is the only reason that causes the tension in the relations between the members of PPGR?
Spyros: As it happens inside every party, there are different approaches to politics, how to move, what should our priorities be etc. In my opinion it is legitimate, as I believe that through discussion and debates, great ideas emerge. But when things get out of control, then we pass to another stage where everything can happen. There are many trends inside PPGR, for example, some believe that we must act and react politically in real life, others that our activism has to be transferred into the digital level, but those are not the only trends within the party. What concerns me most is the “sudden awakening” of some members who were inactive in the previous period of time and now they are engaged with an unbridled criticism of the orientation of the party. The whole situation has resulted in confusion and a dose of negativity to run for the elections. At the moment we are moving between the lawfulness of the statutes and mutiny!
Pirate Times: What do you mean by that?
Spyros: It is alleged that the party operates against our Constitution. Currently a  group of Pirates, including 5 Board members, hold the helm of the party!  The group took the initiative and the responsibility and signed a declaration that until our 4th congress, which is due to occur on October 31st, for tactical reasons it is legitimate to run for the elections with the coalition. In our congress we will see all the issues raised in peace and calm.
Pirate Times: Are you optimistic about the coalition? What is to expect on Sunday night?
Spyros: As I mentioned, we are running for the elections in collaboration with two other parties that are specified in the reformist centrist space. Once again, I would like to clarify that we are not trying to make an ideological convergence here but a simple electoral cooperation and nothing else! It is something different than to embrace their positions, we are not discussing this at all and this is a misunderstood point. Our name and logo will of course be on the ballot. We had previous discussions with these parties when forming the “Trojan Horse“. I hope that we’ll have a very good performance in the elections. People are indecisive and I think we will have our chances, and if all goes according to plan, we might find ourselves placed in a good position. On the other hand I feel depressed because due to the disputes many members that had stated their intention to be candidates either lost their interest or thought the party would not run for the elections and thus they lost contact!
Pirate Times: Is there anything more you would like to say about the elections?
Spyros: Although we‘re running for the elections in a bad indoor climate and with reduced forces, I wish to invite the members and friends of PPGR to vote for the coalition. We have to see the positive aspects of this effort. Media talk about us, we are an alternative political option for Greek voters and the night of the elections we will have our own bar in the results. We will have the opportunity to attract the interest of the people and perhaps new blood will come into the party! I think that especially the young ages will be affected to search deeper who we are and what we stand for. We thank all those who strengthened us financially through sponsorship either from Greece or the rest of the world. The need for funding never stops as new actions, electoral or something else, always arise. There is still time for everyone willing to donate to us!
Pirate Times: Thank you Spyros for an interesting interview and we wish you luck on Sunday!
References on the coalition
The main page of the coalition in facebook (in Greek)
Main election campaign video. “Send new power in the House. Be a part of the solution”.
Official press release for the coalition: “The electoral partnership is our democratic reaction” 
The list of candidate MPs of the coalition
All pictures CC-BY, PPGR