NEWS

Synaspismos in leftward shift

Adjusting its course further to the left, Synaspismos Left Coalition yesterday elected MP Alekos Alavanos as its new chairman, to replace outgoing Nikos Constantopoulos. The 54-year-old economist received 58.5 percent of the ballot in the first round of voting at the end of a four-day Athens conference called by Greece’s fourth-largest party. His closest opponent, Michalis Papayiannakis – an advocate of closer relations with the PASOK main opposition party – came second with 33.18 percent. On Saturday, Alavanos had already summarily dismissed a call from PASOK leader George Papandreou for a political dialogue. «We and PASOK have different paths to follow,» he said. Constantopoulos, who had been rumored to be a strong favorite for ruling New Democracy’s presidential nominee, announced he would not be seeking re-election as party chief – a post he had held since 1993 – after Synaspismos’s poor showing in the June European Parliamentary elections. Synaspismos has six MPs in the Greek Parliament.