Kouvelis Keeps DIMAR Helm


ATHENS – Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, a former Communist who brought his party to the edge of extinction by aligning himself with the austerity measures imposed by a coalition government he briefly served, was re-elected despite some serious misgivings from other members that he has refused to talk with the leaders of The 58 Initiative that is trying to unite Greece’s fractured left.

DIMAR has only 14 seats in the 300-member Parliament where it is essentially powerless and irrelevant since Kouvelis quit the coalition of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and his partner the PASOK Socialists, objecting to the firing of 2,653 workers at the national broadcaster ERT that was closed.

At DIMAR’s convention, Kouvelis garnered 81.21 percent of the vote. After the results were announced, Kouvelis stated that “after the convention the party is coming out stronger from a rich debate with ideas, opinions and decisions”.

He said that DIMAR would run independently in the upcoming European elections along with any parties willing to cooperate, responding to the criticism voiced from within his party that he shunned The 58, but he’s still not willing to talk with them. He didn’t offer any platform to keep the party alive.

Talking about criticism regarding the possibility of an alliance with current opposition leader SYRIZA, he said DIMAR was formed as a breakaway because, “We left because we had a major disagreement and what we built, DIMAR, reflects the country’s interests. This is still the case and we will not return to SYRIZA”.

SYRIZA is trading leads in the polls with the ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras while DIMAR is dead last, dragged down after Kouvelis briefly served in a coalition with the rulers and its partner, the PASOK Socialists, backing austerity measures that are antithetical to the party’s principles.