Greece’s opposition parties Independent Greeks and DIMAR are trying to determine the causes of their diminished electoral appeal, in the aftermath of Sunday’s European Parliament elections.
Independent Greeks look for answers
The opposition Independent Greeks party parliamentary group is to convene on Wednesday to discuss the party’s European elections result, which saw its share of the vote more than halved since the June 2012 general election from 7.51 pct to just 3.45 pct.
The meeting will be chaired by party leader Panos Kammenos and will be followed by a meeting of the party’s Executive Bureau.
In statements to the ANA-MPA, Kammenos said he was troubled by his party’s losses and intended to hold an “open conference” – probably in September – aiming to unite “anti-memorandum patriotic forces”.
Kammenos estimated that the independent Greeks had lost some 200,000 votes since the 2012 elections, while smaller parties had gained some 450,000 votes. Some of those ‘lost’ votes, according to Kammenos, went to main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and Golden Dawn but others went to smaller parties of the right, such as the Union for the Homeland and the People, which had not gained a sufficient percentage of the vote to exercise influence but constituted a “serious political force” when combined.
He said the Independent Greeks would extend an invitation to these parties to cooperate at the planned conference.
Sources noted that Kammenos has already set in motion a radical overhaul of his party, starting with asking for the resignations of his closest aides. One Independent Greeks MP, meanwhile, told ANA-MPA that “everything must be discussed, especially all our mistakes and omissions,” and indicating that this must include the party’s leadership.
Opposition Democratic Left (DIM.AR) president Fotis Kouvelis on Monday launched a round of meetings with leading party cadres to assess Sunday’s weak election performance and pinpoint the causes that led to the party’s poor showing.
A joint meeting of the party’s executive committee and parliamentary group is scheduled for Friday, while the central committee will meet over the weekend to assess the election result and the party’s manoeuvres since it left the government coalition a year ago.
After the negative results on Sunday, certain DIMAR cadres have expressed the view that the party’s leading team should assume responsibility for the mistakes made and make the turn toward the centre-left grouping.
Speaking on Athens radio station “Athina 9.84”, DIMAR central committee secretary Spyros Lykoudis said, after clarifying that his party did not have a contract to stay in the coalition government forever, that “a large section of our voters did not understand why and how we left the coalition government”.
He also said that another reason that led to the party’s crushing defeat was the fact that DIMAR scorned the open dialogue aimed at a reconstruction of the centre-left.
Lykoudis spoke of “political distance” between himself and DIMAR leader Kouvelis, noting that the party president has made a lot of mistakes.