When Andreas Papandreou swept to power in 1981, his slogan of “Allagi”, or change, became a universal mantra of an almost dogmatic nature. His Pasok party dominated Greek centre-left, progressive politics for three decades.
Now, nearly 40 years later, the emerging centre-left party whose supporters recently elected Pasok president Fofi Gennimata as leader, are poised to adopt the name “Movement for Change”, borrowing the word movement from Pasok’s name (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and the totemic allagi.The proposal was decided by Gennimata and her erstwhile opponent for the party leadership, To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis, at a 45-minute meeting yesterday, and it is the first step toward coordinating the activity of the two parliamentary parties that will form the core of the new party.
After years of scraping the bottom of the electoral barrel, Pasok is buoyed by a recent Metron Analysis poll, published in the weekend edition of Ta Nea, which gives it 12.5 percent of the vote, about double its 6.3 percent showing in the September, 2015 general elections.
The same poll gave to Potami a mere 1.0 percent, a huge drop from the 4.1 percent it garnered in the general election.
Hence, the new centre-left party will serve as a life vest for Theodorakis and his party, which apparently was otherwise headed toward extinction.
The name and the platform of the new party will be approved at its first convention, which is expected in the early spring, 2018.
Until then the two parties will retain their discrete presence in parliament, where they will begin cooperation even before the convention.
Gennimata and Theodorakis agreed to hold a joint meeting of their two parliamentary groups on 6 December, along with their executive political councils.
The two party leaders declared their determination to move forward together in unity, in accordance with the mandate delivered in the recent party leadership vote.
The new political scheme is unusual in that it elected a leader even before the formation of the party and without first agreeing to a comprehensive platform.
“From now on, our meetings will not be newsworthy, but commonplace. We are moving toward a large, open, democratic convention that will express all forces [of the centre-left],” Gennimata said after the talks yesterday.
“We shall be a strong opposition times two, with a single voice. A large convention will create something new, a new party,” Theodorakis said.