ATHENS – Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis said he will not act against any of his lawmakers if they decided to back the ruling parties choice of New Democracy Vice-President Stavros Dimas for Greek President.
Kouvelis served in the coalition government of Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras and his partner the PASOK Socialists before leaving in a dispute over the firing of all 2,653 workers at the now-defunct ERT national broadcaster.
Since then he has vacillated on whether he supports or opposes ongoing austerity measures being imposed by the government even while trying to fend off challenges in his own party, which he first offered to resign as its leader with the party falling to the bottom of popularity polls, only to reverse himself.
“IF a DIMAR MP votes for the President of the Republic, I will in no way consider them apostates or venal,” said Kouvelis. So far, DIMAR’s official position is that its 10 MPs should not vote for Dimas but Kouvelis both opposes and supports himself and his party.
The major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is trying to thwart the election of Dimas and force early national elections with polls showing the Leftists leading. The coalition has only 155 votes in the 300-member Parliament but needs 200 in first and second round ballots and 180 in a third. If that fails, snap national polls will be called early next year.
Kouvelis also said that there had been no decision taken regarding whether DIMAR will disband and its members join SYRIZA if national elections are called which could put him in the embarrassing position of opposing the Leftists before deciding to join them.
Former DIMAR MP Spyros Lykoudis said that he would vote for Dimas in all three rounds. The first is due to be held on Dec. 17 with a second set for Dec. 22 if needed and the third on Dec. 29.