Democratic Left leader resigns

Fotis Kouvelis departs following disastrous European election performance

Fotis Kouvelis resigns in the wake of his party coming tenth in the European elections, on 1.2% of the vote

Fotis Kouvelis (File photo: Reuters) Fotis Kouvelis (File photo: Reuters) The leader of the Democratic Left has tendered his resignation as head of the party in the wake of its disastrous performance in Sunday’s European and local elections.

In a short statement, Fotis Kouvelis, 65, said that the “results of the elections make it my duty to submit my resignation to the central committee and party congress”.

“I have endeavoured, at all times, to uphold and defend the democratic values that underpin our party and to express the collective decisions of Democratic Left,” he said.

Kouvelis' leadership came under open attack after his party came tenth in the European elections, receiving only 68,698 votes or a 1.2% share. The party had hoped that Marilena Koppa, an outgoing MEP elected for Pasok in 2010, would help it gain a seat. 

Democratic Left emerged in June 2010, when the then reformist platform within Synaspimos/Syriza resigned en masse and constituted itself as an independent party.

It won 17 MPs in the last election, but three MPs subsequently left the parliamentary group. Originally part of the coalition government formed after the June 2012 elections, it resigned a year later in protest at the closure of state broadcaster ERT

Since Sunday’s elections, there have been calls from within the party for it to contribute to the formation of a new centre-left bloc in Greek politics, alongside Pasok and other groups. However, others believe the party needs to re-align itself with Syriza.

A native of Volos, Kouvelis studied law and political science at the University of Athens. He became a member of the leftwing Lambrakis Youth in the 1960s and was a founding member of the reformist Communist Party of Greece (Interior), on whose central committee he served from 1975 until the party's demise.

In 1997, he was a founding member of the Greek Left party and was elected its general secretary on 25 June 1989, remaining in this position until 1992.

He was justice minister for three months in 1989 in the government of Tzannis Tzannetakis. Kouvelis has been an MP since that November, apart from 1993 to 1996 when Synaspismos failed to make it into parliament. 

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