Stefanos Kasselakis wants to become Greece’s first openly LGBTQ+ prime minister

Greek politician Stefanos Kasselakis gives a thumbs up

Greek-American entrepreneur Stefanos Kasselakis has become the leader of Greece’s opposition left-wing party – and has his sights set on becoming the country’s first openly LGBTQ+ prime minister. 

The 35-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader and shipping executive was elected leader of Syriza on Sunday (24 September), despite having no previous experience of being an MP and obly announcing his bid to run from “political obscurity” on social media last month, Al Jazeera reported. He replaced former prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who resigned as leader of the party in June.

Tsipras led the country from 2015 to 2019, when he was ousted by centre-right New Democracy, ked by current prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Kasselakis, who is married to American nurse Tyler McBeth, is Syriza’s first openly gay leader, and has vowed to legalise same-sex marriage if he wins the next general election. 

He has also promised to increase public spending on education and replace mandatory military service with a professional army.

‘The light won’

Kasselakis, who won 56 per cent of the vote, ran against lawyer and former labour minister Efi Achtsioglou, who received 44 per cent.

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Outside Syriza headquarters on Sunday, Kasselakis proclaimed that “the light won”.

He added: “I am not a phenomenon, I am the voice of society. I’m never going to betray you. Syriza is here and will stay here, and will win from now on”.

Despite the fact that the country has not yet adopted same-sex marriage, according to Equaldex, Greece does have plenty of robust laws in place to protect the country’s LGBTQ+ population. 

In 2022, legislation was passed to outlaw conversion therapy, beating the UK, which has delayed meaningful legislation for more than five years.

Greece, which joined the EU in 1981, has also lifted the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, and banned unnecessary surgeries on intersex babies.

In July, PM Mitsotakis promised to legalise same-sex marriage, telling journalists that “Greek society is so much more ready and mature”.