Not long ago, PASOK/Kinima Allagis were left for political dead, to be condemned to the annals of history rather than play any meaningful part in Greece’s future moving forward. The late party leader Fofi Gennimata took on a Herculean task in the post-Papandreou years to keep PASOK and Kinima Allagis as a viable party that has seats in the Hellenic Parliament. In the last decade SYRIZA has firmly supplanted PASOK as the political left’s answer to the conservative Nea Demokratia party. PASOK/Kinima Allagis held their party elections this past Sunday, seeking to fill the leadership void left by the passing of Fofi Gennimata at the end of October. The eyes of the political world waited to see what leader would emerge from the crowded field to lay the groundwork to take back some of the voters that SYRIZA had snatched from PASOK over the last decade, and possibly take votes away from Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the ruling Nea Demokratia party.
Greece, since its formation as a recognized, organized state, in 1830 has been ruled by a handful of oligarchs and political dynasties. So when the field for the PASOK/Kinima Allagis leadership position narrowed to three – Andreas Loverdos, Nikos Androulakis, and George Papandreou one could be forgiven if they thought they had seen this movie before. Papandreou is a former prime minister, whose father and grandfather were both prime minister with the father, Andreas, actually being the founder of PASOK. Given Greece’s history of recycling politicians and giving deference to oligarchs, it seemed almost inevitable for some time that George Papandreou would reclaim the leadership of the party his father founded and which he himself once led to victory in the Greek General Elections of 2009.
Few predicted the political earthquake to come as Loverdos was eliminated as a competitor and the race came down to Papandreou and Androulakis. The 42-year-old Androulakis routed Papandreou by a percentage of 68.4% to 31.6% and in doing so became the first leader of PASOK to be born after the party’s founding (1974). Androulakis in his victory put an end to the Papandreou political family dynasty and perhaps has forever changed the Greek political landscape to a place where upstarts will now be preferred to blue-blood stalwarts.