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New Greek Center-Left Party Will Pick Leader, Try to Regain Standing

November 12, 2017

ATHENS – Adrift and rudderless, Greece’s center-left will try to reform from the remains of the once-dominant PASOK Socialists, now Democratic Alignment, and the politically irrelevant centrist To Potami and vote for a leader on Nov. 12.

PASOK nearly disappeared after former leader and then-Prime Minister George Papandreou went against party principles to impose brutal austerity measures in return for a bailout of 100 billion euros ($128.31 billion) in 2010 from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-ECB-ESM) but was hounded out of office by relentless protests, quitting in November, 2011.

PASOK has fallen from 44 percent of the vote that he won in 2009 to barely more than 4 percent since then, losing 90 percent of its base.

To Potami has even less support and the two parties, along with the Democratic Left (DIMAR) which served in a coalition with the ruling New Democracy Conservatives and the then-PASOK but fell into oblivion after backing austerity and quitting the government, are trying to form a single party with some semblance of clout.

Nikos Alivizatos, the head of the committee overseeing the vote, said he expects a turnout of 180,000, and told Kathimerini that anything under 100,000 would be “miserable.” If no candidate musters a 51 percent majority, a second vote will be held on November 19.

The nine candidates are current Democratic Alignment leader Fofi Gennimata, who hasn’t been able to resurrect the party, Athens Mayor, Giorgos Kaminis, To Potami chief Stavros Theodorakis, Nikos Androulakis, Yiannis Maniatis, Yiannis Ragousis, Apostolos Pontas, Constantinos Gatsios and Dimitris Tziotis.

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