The contest for the leadership of the left-wing SYRIZA party, the main opposition party, is narrowing to a two-horse race between Efi Achtsioglou and Stefanos Kasselakis. The poll to elect the next leader of SYRIZA is on Sunday, September 17, after a postponement last week due to overwhelming floods in Greece.

Efi Achtsioglou, a former Minister for Labour, Social Insurance, and Social Solidarity in the SYRIZA government, served from 2016 to 2019. She is 38 years old and holds a law degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Before her political career, she worked at the European Parliament, collaborating with the Department of Civil Law, Political Procedure, and Labour Law at the Aristotle University Law School from 2009 to 2013. She also worked as a researcher at the Centre of International and European Economic Law (CIEEL).

Stefanos Kasselakis, often called the “golden boy,” is a former Goldman Sachs banker who has caused a stir by announcing his candidacy for the party’s presidency in the next election. He represents a more left-wing opposition to the austerity policies imposed on Athens during the financial crisis.

Former Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras (L) arrives for a meeting with the then Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou (R) who is running for SYRIZA leadership. Photo: AFP

At 14, he earned a silver medal in the Archimedes math contest. He later graduated in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. During his student years, he volunteered for Joe Biden during the 2008 Democratic primaries. In the Metron Analysis survey published by MEGA, Achtsioglou has a comfortable lead. Kasselakis is gaining an edge if all those members who said they would turn out to vote do so. Efi Achtsioglou leads with 35 per cent, compared to 19 per cent for Stefanos Kasselakis.

In third place is Euclid Tsakalotos, with 12 per cent; the 64-year-old economist was Minister of Finance of Greece from 2015 to 2019 and is a member of the Central Committee of Syriza. During the Greek Financial Crisis, he replaced the former SYRIZA government finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

Achtsioglou leads with 41 per cent of SYRIZA voters, compared to 35 per cent for Kasselakis for those who would vote SYRIZA in a general election. Of those who said they would “definitely, or probably” vote, Kasselakis registered 39 per cent, and Achtsioglou garnered 31 per cent.

Tsakalotos scored 13 per cent. While the others contesting for the role, Stefanos Tzoumakas, a former minister for PASOK, and Nikos Pappas, Alexis Tsipras’ close associate (Tsipras was the former Prime Minister of the SYRIZA government), garnered a miserly 3 per cent.

To the question of: “Who can beat Mitsotakis?” Stefanos Kasselakis led at 40 per cent, followed by Efi Achtsioglou at 33 per cent.

If the party elections have to go to a second round among SYRIZA voters, Achtsioglou rose to 52 per cent against 39 per cent for Kasselakis. However, for SYRIZA party members who said they would vote, Kasselakis has a narrow lead with 45 per cent against 44 per cent for Achtsioglou.

When SYRIZA members and SYRIZA voters, conflate, Efi Achtsioglou leads 52 to 26 per cent for Stefanos Kasselakis.


On Sunday, September 17 2023, the SYRIZA – Progressive Alliance party will vote for party leader. SYRIZA members over 15 years of age who have either registered as members of SYRIZA – by September 16 or recorded on the day of the vote at one of the 570 polling stations around Greece ( have the right to vote.

For Diaspora Greek citizens, voting will be online on Sunday, September 17, from 8am to 8pm (Greek time).

Voting is open to SYRIZA members outside Greece who have registered by Thursday, September 14.