ATHENS – Nikos Androulakis is on a mission to try to restore the shattered fragements of Greece’s once dominant center-left, the leftovers morphing into the Movement for Change (KINAL) party he said he will resurrect.
Androulakis, 42, a Member of the European Parliament, defeated former partey and previous premier George Papandreou in a rout to succeed Fofi Gennimata, who tragically passed away.
It won’t be an easy task for a party led by the former stalwarts of the now-defunct PASOK Socialists that disintegrated after becoming a junior partner in a former coalition led by its arch-rival New Democracy Conservatives.
That partnership required PASOK to support austerity measures opposed to its alleged principles and saw it shed voters in droves, going from 44 percent of the vote in 2009 elections won by Papandreou to about 7 percent now.
That has left the center-left essentially voiceless in Parliament where it has only 22 seats out of 300 but it could be in a position to get into another coalition in the next elections when a 50-seat bonus for the winning party will no longer be in effect.
Androulakis will be on the outside looking because he’s a member of the European Parliament, not the Greek Parliament, and won’t be seated there, leaving it up to deputies and rivals who ran against him to direct his orders.
He told the Ta Nea newspaper that, “Current conditions require a real movement, not a new party bureaucracy, we want a new relationship of trust with the citizens. A party that is united, credible, assertive, autonomous.”
Describing his strategy in broad strokes and without details he said that has been given a mandate by his voters to help the party grow further and be “a leading political force, with a social democratic governance proposal.”
He also added that the era when KINAL “had to say who it will side with is ending, irrevocably,” offering no clues what he intends to do to turn it around for the center-left’s comeback plan.