ATHENS – Democratic Left (DIMAR) chief Fotis Kouvelis has denied media reports that the ruling parties want him to be their candidate for Greek President.
While DIMAR is floundering at the bottom of polls and the party being pulled apart by dissension, Kouvelis nonetheless had been seen in some quarters as the perfect candidate to thwart any attempt by the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) from blocking election of a President, which would spark early national elections.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives have fallen behind SYRIZA in polls while his coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists, have only about 3-5 support.
But the two parties want to stay in office until their term runs out in 2016 and there was speculation that Kouvelis could draw enough support in Parliament to be elected. That requires 180 votes in the 300-member body and New Democracy has only 128 while PASOK has faded to 26.
“There has been neither a proposal, nor a hint. There has been no deal, neither in secret, nor in the open,” Kouvelis said during a press conference at Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). The election of a President to replace Karolos Papoulias is set for February, 2015.
He’s fighting to maintain leadership of his own party where dissidents are openly challenging him after he put DIMAR in the coalition and backed harsh austerity measures before withdrawing in a disagreement over the firing of all 2,653 workers at the now-defunct national broadcaster ERT.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos was named Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister after he went along with the dismissals but not says he’s opposed to any more public worker firings.