Beleaguered Democratic Left loses MP Vassilis Oikonomou

Democratic Left (DIMAR), the former junior partner in the coalition which saw its support plummet in last month’s European Parliament and local authority elections, was dealt another blow on Friday when prominent MP Vassilis Oikonomou announced that he was quitting the party to become an independent.

The move reduced DIMAR’s presence in the 300-seat Parliament to 13 MPs while the number of independent legislators rose to 23.

In a statement issued immediately after he sent a letter of resignation to Parliament speaker Vangelis Meimarakis, Oikonomou criticized DIMAR for its stance and policies and for failing to build alliances with other center-left groupings.

Oikonomou said he could no longer remain in DIMAR due to “the unwillingness of Democratic Left to cooperate with the other existing forces of the center left” and “its evident lack of interest for the opinion and positions of MPs that are not aligned with the predominant outlook,” an apparent dig at DIMAR’s leader Fotis Kouvelis.

The upheaval prompted within DIMAR after the party failed to elect an MP to the European Parliament last month prompted Kouvelis to offer his resignation. The move is to be discussed at a meeting of the party’s central committee on Saturday.