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Greek Socialist Leader Hospitalized, Withdraws from Leadership Race

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Leader of PASOK, Fofi Gennimata, has announced she is withdrawing from the leadership race. Credit: AMNA

Fofi Gennimata, the leader of the socialist party PASOK and the center-left coalition Movement for Change announced on Tuesday she is withdrawing from the race to elect a new leader for the party in December after she was hospitalized.

Gennimata, was admitted to Athens’ Evangelismos Hospital on Monday night with intestinal obstruction.

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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.

“As president until the emergence of a new leadership but also as an MP afterwards, my priority remains the unity and the perspective of the party.”

The hospital said in an announcement that following extensive medical examinations it was found that Gennimata’s condition is due to a relapse of her underlying illness, cancer.

Government and party leaders wished Movement for Change (KINAL) leader Fofi Gennimata a speedy recovery in social media posts on Tuesday.

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Twitter that he spoke with Gennimata to wish her a speedy recovery. “Our common hope if for her to overcome this ordeal soon,” he added.

Επικοινώνησα με την Πρόεδρο του Κινήματος Αλλαγής, Φώφη Γεννηματά, για να της ευχηθώ από καρδιάς περαστικά και γρήγορη ανάρρωση. Ευχή όλων μας, να ξεπεράσει σύντομα τη δοκιμασία αυτή.

— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) October 12, 2021

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 since 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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