NEWS

Parliament suspended, as condolences pour in for Fofi Gennimata

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Parliament has been suspended until the end of the week to mark the death of Fofi Gennimata, the leader of Greece’s third biggest party, on Monday. It is the “smallest tribute” the House can pay to the president of center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), parliament speaker Konstantinos Tassoulas said. 

In a written statement following the announcement of the 56-year-old’s death after a long battle with breast cancer, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed Gennimata as a “symbol of courage for all women, but also for men being tested by serious illnesses.”

“I bid her farewell with respect, but also overwhelmed by the thoughts provoked by her unjust and untimely death,” he said, as he was returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia, which he cut short at news of her death.

“She was a fighter for life, battling with dignity the challenges to her health and the enemy that hit her family,” he said in reference to the fact that her father, Georgios Gennimatas, one of the founding members of the PASOK socialist party that later became a part of KINAL, also died of cancer.

The news of Gennimata’s death “has shocked us all,” government spokesperson Yiannis Oikonomou said. “She was a great woman with faith in democracy; a woman who fought bravely for her values and beliefs.”

The leader of Greece’s main opposition party, leftist SYRIZA, described Gennimata’s death as an “impoverishment of the country’s political life.” She “battled for life until the very end with determination and dignity,” Alexis Tsipras said.

“I express my deep sorrow for the loss of Fofi Gennimata, leader of KINAL, to whom I say goodbye with great respect for her honesty, but also for the bravery with which she gave the battle for life,” said the secretary general of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), Dimitris Koutsoumbas.

MeRA25 chief Yannis Varoufakis said her death “deprives us of a person who could not be spared in Parliament, a woman who put the brakes on the male domination of the political stage.”