Stefanos Kasselakis , the newly elected leader of Greece’s main leftwing opposition party, recently announced a brief hiatus from politics to fulfill his mandatory military service. At 35 years old, Kasselakis expressed his intention to enlist in the military in the near future.
Speaking with Star television on Thursday, Stefanos Kasselakis remarked that serving in the military would be a great honor for him. He eagerly anticipates the opportunity and intends to start his service once he and the party finalize certain administrative matters.
Kasselakis, who assumed leadership of the Syriza party after a surprise victory in Sunday’s election, had been exempt from military service due to his residence in the United States since the age of 14. However, now that he is back in Greece, he is obliged to complete six months of military service. He does have the option to serve actively for three weeks and buy out the remaining time.
A business professional with no prior political experience, Kasselakis is also openly gay. His rapid ascent to the leadership of Syriza has generated controversy among some traditionalist leftwing members of the party who view him as an outsider. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Kasselakis is not a member of parliament, further complicating his role as leader of Greece‘s largest opposition party.
Greece maintains a substantial number of professional troops, but it primarily relies on conscription for its military service, with a typical duration of 12 months. The exact start date of Kasselakis’s military service remains uncertain, but Greek law allows him flexibility until the beginning of 2024.
In his statement on Thursday, Kasselakis expressed a preference for serving in a unit located near Greece’s historic regional rival, Turkey, or on one of the eastern Aegean Sea islands.