Greece: Stefanos Kasselakis, a repentant trader at the head of the radical left

Greece: Stefanos Kasselakis, a repentant trader at the head of the radical left

2023-09-26 18:13:22

Barely a few weeks ago, a former employee of Goldman Sachs appeared on the Greek political scene. Already a truculent detail when we remember that the American bank had helped the country to sink the fish of its debt to infiltrate the euro zone in 2001. But there is better. This Stefanos Kasselakis with his dazzling smile managed to get elected at the head of Syriza, the local France Insoumise. A golden boy to lead a radical left party, that’s surprising.

The repentant ex-trader explains that his five-year experience in this temple of globalized finance was an opportunity to “see what capital is: buying the work of others at a lower cost” and to observe ” the arrogance that money brings.”

An arrogance that Greece could not afford in the mid-2010s, when the previous leader of Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, was prime minister. Cornered by its creditors, the country was on the verge of leaving the euro zone… Stefanos Kasselakis was then living in the United States, where his family of shipowners emigrated when he was 14 years old. Having become an entrepreneur in the merchant navy himself, he was based in Miami before returning to his native land.

Greek debt is no longer a subject

With such a pedigree, will this political novice be able to remobilize a party undermined by internal dissensions? Nothing is less sure. For the moment, he has distinguished himself above all by his mastery of social networks and his attacks against the current Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, from the right and renewed last June.

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On the financial markets, the latter does not have a bad reputation, quite the contrary. Like Fitch and S&P a few months earlier, Moody’s raised the credit rating of the Greek state in mid-September, bringing it one notch from the “investment grade” zone, that of quality borrowers. Morningstar DBRS, a less prominent rating agency, even took the plunge by removing Hellenic sovereign debt from the speculative category. A sharp reduction in the ratio of public debt to GDP and prudence in terms of budgetary spending are finally paying off. Good bankers make no mistake.

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