Center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), which is polling in third place ahead of national elections in July, was in a state of upheaval on Sunday after two candidates and a party cadre quit in protest at the withdrawal of socialist heavyweight Evangelos Venizelos.
Dimitris Lintzeris and Manos Epitropakis withdrew from the race after KINAL leader Fofi Gennimata effectively downgraded Venizelos’ role, prompting his departure.
Venizelos – a former leader of the socialist PASOK party that leads the KINAL coalition, as well as an ex-foreign and finance minister – quit Movement for Change after Gennimata informed him that she was putting former Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis at the top of the list of candidates for the nationwide party list (epikrateias) in the national elections.
Venizelos, in a statement, accused Gennimata of turning KINAL into an “appendage” of ruling left-wing SYRIZA.
“The sidelining of Evangelos Venizelos confirms the unspoken intention of a system to lead the forces of progressive change into the arms of [PM Alexis] Tsipras,” Lintzeris, a candidate for Piraeus, said in a statement.
He also argued that Gennimata’s move will shrink KINAL’s appeal and influence with voters. “Her only concern is to build bridges for a coalition with SYRIZA,” he added.
Epitropakis, who also withdrew from the race on Sunday, said he “will not support Tsipras’ enablers.”
Party cadre Yannis Economides also slammed Gennimata over the Venizelos decision, saying it was “unacceptable and akin to a coup.”
Responding, Gennimata said she regretted Venizelos’ withdrawal from the race but not her decision, noting that his profile “did not match the message I wanted to send to progressive voters, to those disappointed by SYRIZA.”
KINAL came third in last week’s European Parliament elections.