EU lawmaker Androulakis elected Greek socialist leader

EU lawmaker Androulakis elected Greek socialist leader

Greece’s third-largest group in parliament on Sunday elected a European Parliament lawmaker as its new leader.

Nikos Androulakis defeated former Prime Minister George Papandreou to lead the Movement for Change, a socialist coalition.

Partial results shortly before 9 p.m. showed the 42-year-old Androulakis with 68.4% of the vote compared to 31.6% for the 69-year-old Papandreou. Papandreou called his rival to congratulate him.

Androulakis, a civil engineer, started his political career as a leader of the youth wing of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, or PASOK, one of the parties in the Movement for Change.

With 22 lawmakers in the 300-member Greek Parliament, Movement for Change is Greece’s third-largest political grouping behind ruling conservative New Democracy and left-wing SYRIZA. It gained 8.1% of the vote in Greece’s last national election, in July 2019.

The socialist PASOK ruled Greece from 1981-89, 1993-2004, 2009-11 and 2011-15 – the last four years in coalition with New Democracy.

The socialist vote collapsed during Greece’s financial crisis, which began under a right-wing government but whose extent was revealed on Papandreou’s watch as prime minister.

Androulakis, a self-styled social democrat, is considered less likely than Papandreou to seek an alliance with SYRIZA.

The leadership contest took an unexpected turn with the death of Movement for Change leader Fofi Gennimata, 56, of cancer, on October 25.

More than 206,000 party members and friends voted Sunday, fewer than the 270,000 who showed up in the first round of the voting last week. [AP]

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