ATHENS – “You represent conservatism, we represent change,” said Fofi Gennimata, leader of centre-left party Movement For Change (KINAL), speaking against her political opponents, upon launching a two-day party convention on Saturday, at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Athens.
The KINAL party symposium takes place ahead of upcoming local government elections and European elections in May, and the national elections later in the year.
The KINAL leader said the voter’s dilemma in these elections should not be choosing between the ruling SYRIZA party and the main opposition conservative party New Democracy, but instead choose “the powerful Movement for Change or else risk national division.”
Gennimata addressed some 4.500 party members and congressmen, and outlined the ideological and political character of KINAL as “socialists and social democrats of the centre-Left, with a clear program on a progressive governing of Greece,” clarifying that KINAL “will not take part in a government coalition that intends to continue on the conservative policies pursued by the SYRIZA and far-right government coalition of recent times,” she added.
She explained that her stance comes from wanting to put an end to the logic of political schisms and polarizations, by way of “a progressive change that can only be achieved by a radical shift of the political parameters and in a context of national dialogue,” while adding that if the national elections fail to produce a stand-alone government and KINAL receives a executive order to form a government, it will propose a framework agreement based on what she called “plan Greece.”
Fofi Gennimata expressed her belief that KINAL’s role during upcoming political developments will be catalytical, and that the party concerns “all those who had voted for SYRIZA but saw their hopes crumble,” as well as “those who had voted in absentia or reject the current political system.”
Furthermore, Gennimata launched a vehement attack against the SYRIZA government’s Prespes Agreement and its handling of Greek-Turkish relations, saying that “we have no confidence in Tsipras’ handling of these issues…with SYRIZA and Independent Greeks our national issues are receding and Democracy is in danger.”
Finally, Gennimata criticized SYRIZA in terms of economic performance, saying that SYRIZA’s “damage to the national economy exceeds 200 billion euros, while taxes suffocate household budgets,” and also aired criticism against New Democracy by saying that “the old Right is not the solution to the country’s political problem, with its political clientelism and conservative policies,” said KINAL’s leader.
Meanwhile, former PASOK leader and former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, who attended the KINAL convention, spoke of Greece “needing a force of reformation to emerge at the Euroelections,” and addressing the attendees, said that “during the final years of the consecutive PASOK governments, in 2004, personal income in Greece stood at 86% of the European average,” but in 2016 and after both New Democracy and SYRIZA assumed governments, “it stood at 68% of the European average, dropping 20% since 2004,” said Simitis.
“It is therefore of the essence,” Simitis said, “that we configure KINAL into a force of reform, the protagonist of a new course for the country, and this is why we must broaden our political faction to include all those who want to contribute to this new path,” concluded Simitis.