DIMAR meets for annual congress

Three days after the official inauguration of an ambitious center-left movement hoping to mimic Italy’s Olive Tree Alliance, Democratic Left (DIMAR) will on Thursday launch its annual congress in a bid to turn around its flagging fortunes.

Recent opinion polls have put support for the party of Fotis Kouvelis as low as 1.6 percent – well below the threshold for Parliament entry.

During the Athens congress, which will wrap up on Sunday, party members will vote for president, a central committee and a financial monitoring committee.

Speaking at a recent rally in Trikala, in central Greece, Kouvelis said DIMAR, which casts itself as a pragmatic, pro-reform alternative to main SYRIZA opposition, had to protect its leftist and progressive identity.

Kouvelis called for the creation of a “third pole” that will draw from the areas of democratic socialism, social democracy, political ecology and the democratic center.

In comments made last month, Kouvelis ruled out any imminent cooperation with either the New Democracy-PASOK coalition government or SYRIZA.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Costas Simitis, a socialist, was among those who attended the unveiling on Monday in Athens of a new center-left movement, also dubbed Initiative 58.

An equal number of academics, economists, politicians and artists signed a declaration in October calling for greater cooperation and fresh ideas from the country’s social democrats.

DIMAR has so far snubbed the initiative which appears to be embraced by PASOK. Nevertheless, one of DIMAR’s MPs, Grigoris Psarianos, turned up at the event and delivered a speech.

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