August 13, 2015 / 10:10 AM / 4 years ago

Greek far-left faction leader calls for new anti-bailout "movement"

ATHENS, Aug 13 (Reuters) - The leader of the far-left rebel faction in Greece’s ruling Syriza party called on Thursday for the founding of a new “movement” against the country’s bailout programme, heralding the start of a possible breakaway party.

Panagiotis Lafazanis, a former energy minister who was dropped from the post by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for voting against bailout reforms, is widely expected to split from Syriza with his far-left supporters.

“The fight against the new bailout starts today, by mobilising people in every corner of the country,” said a statement signed by Lafazanis and 11 other Syriza party members posted on the far-left faction’s Iskra website.

The statement called for founding a “united movement that will justify people’s desire for democracy and social justice” though it did not explicitly call for a new party or a split from Syriza.

Tsipras has faced a rebellion from about a quarter of his 149 lawmakers in parliament since agreeing to a bailout deal with EU and IMF creditors last month under the threat of a banking collapse and euro zone exit.

The revolt - led by Lafazanis and others - is expected to be on display again on Thursday night when parliament votes on the bailout deal, though the agreement will almost certainly pass thanks to opposition support.

Syriza is likely to hold an emergency party congress next month where Tsipras is expected to tighten control over the party before moving on to early elections. (Writing by Deepa Babington; editing by David Stamp)

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