Aleka Papariga steps down from helm of Greek Communist Party after 22 years

After 22 years at the helm of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), general secretary Aleka Papariga said that she would not be running for the post again late on Saturday ahead of the final day of the party’s 19th congress in Athens.

The party’s central committee replaced the 67-year-old veteran with Dimitris Koutsoumbas, promoting him from party secretary.

Born in 1955 in Lamia, central Greece, Koutsoumbas joined KKE’s youth wing during the dictatorship when he was a student at Athens Law School, becoming a member of the party in 1974 and being elected to the party’s central committee in 1987. He was appointed secretary of the party in 2009.

Papariga was elected to the post of KKE’s general secretary in 1991, becoming the first and longest-serving female party leader in Greece.

KKE currently holds 12 seats in the 300-member Greek Parliament after receiving 4.5 percent of the vote in general elections in June, shedding some 4 percent from the previous polls a month earlier, when it had received 8.5 percent.

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