Greece's former finance minister and one-time golden boy Yanis Varoufakis has hit back at his critics, claiming Europe's leaders 'bullied' Alexis Tsipras into agreeing the final terms of the bailout this summer.
In an open letter to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the game theorist claims Tsipras was subject to "unbearable bullying, to naked blackmail, to inhuman pressures". European leaders orchestrated a "dastardly coup" against the Greek leader "and Greek democracy", he added.
Varoufakis, who resigned in July, had distanced himself from the weekend's vote in which Syriza won with a smaller majority than in January, calling them a "sad parliamentary election – which could not, and did not, produce a parliament capable of implementing a viable reform program for Greece".
Renzi told his Democratic Party leaders that his dissent had failed to make an impact, saying: "Whoever tries to wound his party by seceding, he dies at the ballot box. And this Varoufakis…we got rid of him."
But Varoufakis was not taking that sitting down.
"Renzi presents me as an apostate who left Syriza and is now in the political wilderness," he wrote this morning. "The truth is more sobering. Unlike many of my comrades, I remained loyal to the Syriza platform that saw us elected on 25 January as a united party that brought hope to the Greek and European peoples. Hope for what? Hope for a permanent end to the extend-and-pretend bailout loans, which cost Europe dearly, condemned Greece to permanent depression and foreshadowed failed policies for the rest of Europe."
Varoufakis continued: "[Renzi] can rejoice as much as you like about the fact that I am no longer finance minister, not even in Parliament. But you did not ‘get rid’ of me. I am alive and kicking politically, as people in Italy remind me when I walk the streets of your beautiful country.
"No, what you got rid of, by participating in that dastardly coup against Alexis Tsipras and Greek democracy last July, was your own integrity as a European democrat. Possibly your soul too. thankfully this is not irreversible. But you need to make serious amends. I cannot wait to see you return to the ranks of Europe’s democrats."
Varoufakis is not the only political leader to have been slammed by Renzi in recent days. The Italian PM said last week the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would make "Cameron the happiest of all", suggesting that the left wing party did not want to win the next General Election.
"It’s not a question of being Blairite or anti-Blairite, it’s a matter of ‘Do you want to go to elections like you go to the Olympics, to win or to participate’?," he said in speech to his party.