SYRIZA Calls for New Democracy to Re-Nominate Greek President


President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Stelios Missinas)

ATHENS - The major rival Radical Left SYRIZA pushed the ruling New Democracy to rename the Conservatives own Prokopis Pavlopoulos - appointed after the Leftists nominated him in 2015 - for another term as Greece’s symbolic President.

In a statement, SYRIZA slammed Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for not putting forth his choice for the position, with Pavlopoulos’ term set to expire Feb. 15. The Leftists said they would stand behind the President once again if he’s renominated.

SYRIZA accused Mitsotakis of “tarnishing the status of the institution,” adding that the nomination must not be held hostage by what it said was the Conservatives “in-party power struggles and contradictions,” over who should get the cherished, if near-powerless, job.

Mitsotakis told reporters he was “close to a decision,” adding that the chances of proposing a female candidate were 50 percent after he faced harsh criticism for having a Cabinet that’s heavily male.

Ironically, New Democracy brought about snap elections it lost in January, 2015 when then-Premier Antonis Samaras put up as his presidential choice the name of party’s own Vice-President, breaking with tradition which sees the job go to a rival party member or someone neutral.

The Parliament must ratify the choice by more than a majority, requiring a governing party to seek consensus and it’s not clear what would happen if Mitsotakis names someone other than Pavlopoulos for the position.