Fofi Gennimata took over as the first female leader in PASOK’s history on Monday after comfortably seeing off her two male competitors to secure the presidency of the beleaguered Socialist party.
The ex-minister immediately said that she would seek to rebuild the once-mighty party and would begin a dialogue with other groups on the center-left of Greek politics. Although she did not name them, her comments suggest that she will reach out to Democratic Left, which was part of the coalition government between 2012 and 2013, and the Movement of Democratic Socialists launched by ex-PASOK chief George Papandreou in January.
PASOK was founded in September 1974 by a group of socialists that included Gennimata’s father but has not been led by a woman before. The new Socialist chief is expected to call a meeting of PASOK’s parliamentary group during the week and will also start the process needed to elect new officials to key posts in the party.
Despite competition from another ex-minister, Andreas Loverdos, and the younger MP Odysseas Constantinopoulos, Gennimata managed to pass the 50 percent mark she needed to win from the first round of voting and avoid a runoff ballot with the second-placed candidate. Some 53,000 PASOK members voted on Sunday and Genimmata garnered 51.7 percent.
The new PASOK chief is due to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday morning in her first official duty since taking over at the helm.
Tsipras also has a morning meeting with Potami chief Stavros Theodorakis, who held talks Monday with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Theodorakis asked for a meeting of political leaders to be called but the request must come from Tsipras. The president’s role means that Pavlopoulos can host such a meeting but cannot convene it himself.