Center-left initiative draws public interest as parties dither

As opinion polls appear to suggest a growing public interest in a new center-left political initiative involving personalities from various walks of life, the country’s two main center-left parties, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), appear to remain divided over what their involvement should be in the new political venture.

The “Initiative of the 58” – which takes its name after the 58 personalities who signed its manifesto in October – is due to convene next Sunday, January 12, to discuss policy positions and strategy ahead of European and local elections due in May.

With PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos having made clear his desire for the “Initiative of the 58” to send a PASOK-affiliated individual as a candidate to European elections, many members of the movement are keen that next Sunday’s meeting be used as an opportunity to douse Venizelos’ idea by stating outright that any election candidate should not have ties to existing parties. The PASOK leader is keen to boost his party’s waning fortunes by joining forces with the new movement.

Unlike Venizelos, DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis has not publicly backed the new initiative. But with many opinion polls suggesting his party will not cross the 3 percent threshold to enter Parliament in May, DIMAR may be forced to reconsider an alliance.

An opinion poll carried out by Kapa Research for To Vima found that 6.3 percent of Greeks would vote for a new center-left party in the Euro elections while another 22.7 percent would consider it.

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