Kouvelis officially elected president of Democratic Left party

Veteran leftist politician Fotis Kouvelis was formally elected president of the new Democratic Left party with a sweeping majority at the close of the party's four-day inaugural congress on Sunday.

Kouvelis, who was uncontested, was elected with 97.31 percent from among 670 delegates. He received 652 votes, while 18 blank votes were also cast.

Democratic Left inaugural congress

Dialogue, if it lacks the element of two-way communication, turns into a monologue and offers nothing to society, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said Saturday night at the new party's inaugural congress, in reply to an invitation for dialogue by prime minister George Papandreou at the congress session on Thursday.

Kouvelis said that Democratic Left was putting forward proposals for tackling the problems, but they were not being heard.

He further stressed that the prerequisites do not exist for collaboration with the ruling PASOK party, adding that a condition for such cooperation at any level is program convergence and credibility, "which does not exist".

Conversely, a broad collaboration of forces is necessary among the Democratic Left, the forces of ecology and social-democrats and politically independent individuals so that the prerequisites for changes may be created.

On the economy, Kouvelis said the government was following a conservative policy and proposed, instead, a renegotiation and restructure of the country's debt, and called on the government to act in that direction.

He further criticised the government for continuing to tax the working people while it was doing nothing to clamp down on tax evasion, the black economy and corruption.

The congress winds up Sunday afternoon with the election of a party president, secretary and central committee.

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