The pre-electoral period in the centre-left KINAL (Movement for Change) party has not yet formally begun.

That will begin when those competing in the leadership contest officially submit their candidacies to the party’s Central Committee this coming Sunday.

In essence, however, the leadership battle is already being waged.

The candidates, some more intensely and other more discreetly, have begun to publicly exchange barbs.

Those in the know regarding the centre-left express concerns that the closer we get to the first round of the election the sharper the rhetoric of the candidates will become.

Obviously, an electoral campaign is never conducted with polite niceties or whispers.

Nevertheless, those involved in the process have a duty to keep in mind that the contest will not only determine who will be the next leader of the Movement for Change. It will also determine the future of the party.

KINAL does not have the luxury of coming across as deeply divided in the eyes of its political base and of the national electorate.

Hence, everyone must pipe down in order to avert statements that will repel public opinion and alienate it from the party, and that will render the co-existence of the candidates in the party after the election impossible.

The centre-left seems to be rebounding in many countries. In most cases, its return to the political arena is due to its efforts to present or implement realistic proposals for solving problems that are of concern to the electorate.

The leading figures of the Greek centre-left can hope to follow that current only if they choose to compete based on their programmes, and not with a war of words.

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