To Potami quits center-left alliance Movement for Change

To Potami quits center-left alliance Movement for Change

To Potami party, led by Stavros Theodorakis, decided to quit Movement for Change (KINAL), a recently established alliance of center-left parties led by Fofi Gennimata, the president of the socialist PASOK party.

Only a few months after the alliance was announced, To Potami decided during a meeting of party officials over the weekend, to adopt Stavros Theodorakis’ proposal to drop out of KINAL. Officials voted in favor of Theodorakis’s proposal by 97 to 16, while 5 members abstained. An official announcement is expected to be made on Monday.

However, it appears that centrist To Potami was left in crisis by the decision as several members opted to stay with KINAL. Specifically, political movement “Brosta” (Forward) which cooperated with the party in the last three years, announced it will back Gennimata’s Movement for Change.

Analysts point out that other may follow suit, before To Potami reaches it Congress in October 2018. To Potami MEP, Miltos Kyrkos, is also in favor of not abandoning KINAL.

Meanwhile, Theodorakis dismissed rumors that To Potami is ready to cooperate with ruling SYRIZA, should the Independent Greeks drop out of the coalition over the FYROM name-change agreement. He also pointed out that his party will not be backing right-wing New Democracy either.

To Potami’s departure from the Movement for Change was expected by analysts, following a public disagreement between Theodorakis and Gennimata over the government’s agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic with Macedonia to change the neighboring country’s name.

Gennimata rejected the deal struck by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, on the grounds that it made serious concessions to Skopje. Theodorakis, on the other hand, said the agreement was fundamentally positive and urged KINAL to back it.

Theodorakis also clashed with Gennimata over KINAL strategy, with the former arguing that the Movement should have reached out to a broader range of political forces across the political spectrum.

According to sources close to the PASOK leader, Fofi Gennimata will try to commit remaining members– the Democratic Left, the Democratic Socialists and smaller entities –  to KINAL in the following days, arguing that Stavros Theodorakis’ personal agenda is a “one off”. She will also seek to rally the members of the Movement behind her conviction that an early election is on the cards.

This conviction was further supported on Sunday by the statements of Panos Kammenos, the leader of Independent Greeks, SYRIZA’s junior coalition partner. Kammenos left open the possibility of his party withdrawing its parliamentary support when the bilateral agreement to resolve the FYROM name dispute comes to the House for ratification.

Kammenos’s comments fueled speculation that PM Tsipras could call a snap election in the autumn due to the upcoming vote on the FYROM name-change deal. Gennimata tweeted on Sunday that “the countdown [to the election] has started”, while senior New Democracy officials made similar comments./IBNA