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Greek Socialist Leader Fofi Gennimata Dies at 57

Fofi Gennimata
Fofi Gennimata dies at 57. Credit: KINAL

Greek socialist leader Fofi Gennimata died on Monday at an Athens hospital at 57. She was diagnosed with cancer earlier in October.

On October 11 she was admitted to Athens’ Evangelismos Hospital with an intestinal obstruction. She died “after a years’ long battle and despite the efforts of her attending physicians,” the hospital’s administration said in a statement on Monday, expressing its condolences to her family.

Gennimata, leader of the socialist party PASOK and the center-left coalition Movement for Change, withdrew from the race to elect a new leader for the party that was due to take place in December.

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“The deterioration of my health, which requires hospitalization and treatment, obliges me not to participate as a candidate in the electoral process for the election of the President of the Movement for Change,” she said in a statement.

Gennimata, a dominant figure of the center-left in Greece

Gennimata, daughter of Greek politician Giorgos Gennimatas who was credited for establishing the Greek public health system during the government of PASOK in the 1980’s, is a well-respected figure in the politics of the country.

In the last national elections of July 2019, the KINAL alliance took 8.1 percent of the vote, electing 22 MPs. It’s currently the third-largest Parliamentary group in Greece.

Through her leadership KINAL is trying to expand its electoral base and promote itself as the realistic alternative to the conservative administration of Mitsotakis.

The 57-year-old politician has been president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) since 2015. Since 2017, she serves as the president of the Movement for Change, a coalition of center-left parties formed around PASOK.

PASOK is the historic center-left party that governed Greece for more than 25 years after its foundation in 1974.

From October 2009 to September 2010, Gennimata served as a Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare in the Cabinet of George Papandreou, and from September 2010 to November 2011, she served as an Alternate Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs in the same cabinet.

In 2012, Gennimata was appointed as a spokesperson for PASOK.

Gennimata was elected as Leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement at their tenth conference, after Evangelos Venizelos stepped down as leader a year before the conclusion of his term. She won the leadership election with 51% of the vote, beating Odysseas Konstantinopoulos and Andreas Loverdos.

Related: After 45 Years, Anniversary of Founding of PASOK More a Memorial than a Celebration

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