ATHENS – The fractured Democratic Left (DIMAR) party that had served in Greece’s coalition government lost a key lawmaker, Spyros Lykoudis, who resigned.
His defection leaves DIMAR, which is at the bottom of voter popularity polls after backing austerity while serving Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, with only 10 seats in Parliament.
In a letter addressed to Parliamentary speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, Lykoudis said he would continue as an Independent.
His formal resignation came after a radio interview on Sept. 8 in which Lykoudis had expressed his intention to quit due to irreconcilable differences with the party’s central committee and growing dissension in the party over the failed leadership of Fotis Kouvelis, who has presided over its demise.
DIMAR had 17 seats in Parliament after winning 6.3 percent of the vote in the general elections of June 2012 and joining a three-party governing coalition with New Democracy and the PASOK Socialists.
It saw its popularity drop to 1.2 percent in European elections in May after quitting the coalition over the closure of state broadcaster ERT in June last year.
Kouvelis had reportedly been considered by the ruling parties as their choice for the next President of Greece in an attempt to thwart the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party that said it would block the replacement of Karolos Papoulias to force early national elections.