To Potami draws political support

SYRIZA, DIMAR, KKE and others attend founding congress of centrist newcomer

Stavros Theodorakis, the leader of centrist To Potami (The River) which has gained unexpected popularity among jaded voters in just a few months, appeared to draw broad interest from across the political spectrum at the party’s founding congress over the weekend.

Representatives from the main leftist opposition SYRIZA as well as former coalition partner Democratic Left (DIMAR) and the Communist Party (KKE) attended the two-day event at the port of Lavrio, southeast of Athens, as did Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and Petros Tatsopoulos, the outspoken independent MP and former SYRIZA lawmaker.

Addressing participants on Saturday, Theodorakis stressed the need to clash with “a rotten status quo” and its practices of “rousfeti,” or trading favors in exchange for political support, as well as populism.

“Greece needs to experience the Enlightenment it missed out on, to have its own Renaissance,” the former television journalist told the congress.

SYRIZA’s party secretary, Dimitris Vitsas, suggested that the leftists would be open to cooperation with Theodorakis’s party, should they win the next general elections. “We have clarified that, even if SYRIZA achieves a clear parliamentary majority, we will seek broader social and political alliances," he said.

The secretary of DIMAR’s central committee, Thanasis Theoharopoulos, said his party was ready to start a debate with To Potami but emphasized that those talks “cannot take place in a political vacuum” but must address specific issues.