Former Greek Premier George Papandreou plots political comeback
Papandreou, 69, joins race for leadership of center-left Movement for Change, vows to make party 'big, strong again'
Announcing his candidacy in a televised statement on Wednesday evening, Papandreou vowed to make the center-left party “big and strong again.”
“We need to give to our citizens and our country a new chance. That is why this party must rise again,” Papandreou said, asserting that he will do all in his power to make KINAL a leading actor in Greek politics.
The 69-year-old previously had stints as minister of education and foreign affairs during the governments of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party, which was founded by his father and former Greek Premier Andreas Papandreou.
Founded as a coalition of center-left parties in 2018, KINAL currently comprises PASOK and the Movement of Democratic Socialists (KIDISO), which was formed in 2015 by a group of parliamentarians led by Papandreou who broke away from PASOK.
KINAL currently holds 22 seats and is part of the opposition in the 300-member Greek Parliament.
Papandreou is regarded as a moderate politician because of his stance in favor of rapprochement between Greece and Turkey in the late 1990s, as well as his support for Ankara’s efforts to join the European Union.
He declared his bid to become leader of KINAL after speaking to Fofi Gennimata, the incumbent party head who is stepping down due to health reasons after she was hospitalized on Oct. 12.
Apart from Papandreou, there are six more candidates vying for the position: Pavlos Geroulanos, former culture and tourism minister from 2009 to 2012; KINAL spokesman Pavlos Christides; Haris Kastanidis, former justice and interior minister; Vassilis Kegeroglou, former deputy minister for labor; Andreas Loverdos, former minister of education and a law professor; and Nikos Androulakis, former secretary of Pasok and a member of the European Parliament.
Kegeroglou has indicated he might withdraw from the race to support Papandreou, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.
The first round of the party elections is set for Dec. 5, with a second ballot to follow a week later if no one secures a majority.