ATHENS – Movement for Change (KINAL) newly elected leader Nikos Androulakis on Monday left a flower at former KINAL leader Fofi Gennimata’s grave at the first cemetery of Athens. Afterwards he went to the party’s headquarters where he was welcomed by KINAL’s secretary Manolis Christodoulakis and the party’s director Nikos Salagiannis.
“It is a great day for the party, we are moving forward dynamically to the reconstruction of the centre-left. The people need a strong voice of progress, realism, a strong social-democratic voice and my aim is for PASOK and the Democratic party to offer it because the country should turn the page.
Later, Androulakis had a meeting with his close associates and the party’s leadership. It is high probable for the Central Committee to convene on Tuesday.
According to sources, Androulakis will attend the pre-summit of the European Socialists in Brussels on Thursday 16 December.
Androulakis Is the New Leader of KINAL
European Parliament lawmaker Nikos Androulakis routed former Prime Minister George Papandreou to become the new leader of the tiny center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) led by veterans of the former PASOK Socialists.
Androulakis, 42, ran away with a win the run-off to take over the head of the party, the election coming after the death of former leader Fofi Gennimata. Androulakis got 31.6 percent to only 31.6 percent to the 69-year-old Papandreou who was trying for a comeback a decade after he resigned as premier when he called for a referendum on austerity measures attached to an international bailout he sought.
The race was called with partial results because of the margin and Papandreou called his rival to congratulate him although KINAL effectively has no voice in the Greek Parliament where he has only 22 seats in the 300-member body.
The party got only 8.1 percent of the vote in the last national elections on July 7, 2019 when New Democracy ousted the Radical Left SYRIZA whose leader, Alexis Tsipras, had made overtures to KINAL to be absorbed.
Androulakis, a civil engineer, started his political career as a leader of the youth wing of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, or PASOK, one of the parties in the tiny Movement for Change.
Papandreou’s reign that brought in austerity and two more bailouts for Greece saw his successor as PASOK leader, Evangelos Venizelos, take the party into a junior partner role in a coalition with a former New Democracy and eventually its ends.
PASOK ruled Greece from 1981-89, 1993-2004, 2009-11 and 2011-15 – the last four years in the coalition with New Democracy, the Leftists support for big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings seeing its popularity plummet.
The Socialist vote collapsed during Greece’s financial crisis, which began under a right-wing government but whose extent was revealed on Papandreou’s watch as prime minister.
Androulakis, a self-styled social democrat, is considered less likely than Papandreou to seek an alliance with SYRIZA.
More than 206,000 party members and friends voted, fewer than the 270,000 who showed up in the first round of the voting the previous week which saw Papandreou finish second in the preliminary, none 9 points behind.
His allegations there were voting irregularities in the first round brought a backlash that saw him do an about-face to say he didn’t claim there was fraud but barring another try at taking over the shattered fragments of the center-left the defeat could spell his political end, and career.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)