DIMAR Rejects Kouvelis Resignation, SYRIZA Eyes Unity

Under Fotis Kouvelis, DIMAR has disintegrated as a party
Under Fotis Kouvelis, DIMAR has disintegrated as a party

Greece ‘s Democratic Left (DIMAR) lawmakers said they won’t accept the resignation of party leader Fotis Kouvelis, even though it finished with a disastrous 1.2 percent and dead last among major Greek parties in the May 25 European Parliament elections.

Under pressure from dissidents in the marginalized party, Kouvelis had offered to quit but a majority of his deputies said they need him even as the party disintegrates around him after he backed austerity measures while serving in the coalition government last year of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader.

The party’s executive committee met to discuss why it fared so poorly in the elections although Kouvelis’ support for pay cuts, tax hikes, and slashed pensions is antithetical to its principles. It wasn’t reported if anyone noticed that.

Kouvelis finally yanked DIMAR last year from the coalition, which also includes the PASOK Socialists, after he refused to go along with firing all 2,653 workers at the now-defunct national broadcaster ERT, which has been replaced with a new station called NERIT. Many of the workers were brought back.

DIMAR has 14 lawmakers, but based on its EU balloting showing it wouldn’t be able to muster the 3 percent of the vote needed to enter Parliament in the next national elections and would effectively be ended.

Even though Kouvelis’ leadership tenure has been a wipe-out, the party officials said he’s the man to still lead them, although there had been a split between those who wanted him to work with the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) which won the EU ballot among Greece’s parties.

SYRIZA officials are reportedly watching what’s happening at DIMAR with the thought of bringing it into the Leftist fold, although there are sharp ideological differences between Kouvelis, who formed DIMAR, and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who bested him in the battle for the Leftist leadership.

“Our priority is for DIMAR to succeed in rebuilding itself and to remain a united party,” one SYRIZA source told Kathimerini, saying the party’s collapse and the migration of some of its MPs toward SYRIZA was “secondary.”