Greek parliament suspended after party leader's death

Athens (AFP) – The Greek parliament was suspended Monday following the death of Fofi Gennimata, the head of the socialist party and one of the most senior women politicians in the country.


Parliament speaker Constantinos Tassoulas said he had agreed with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to "suspend legislative work this week" and that political parties had also agreed to suspend parliamentary questions.

Mitsotakis said a national day of mourning would be held Wednesday for Gennimata, who died of cancer Monday in an Athens hospital.

One of the first women in Greece to hold senior political posts, the 56-year-old led a successor party to the once-powerful PASOK movement of three-time Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

The mother-of-three had survived a previous battle with cancer but was hospitalised on October 11 with intestinal trouble.

A day later, Gennimata said she was abandoning her campaign for re-election to the party leadership in December.

Gennimata was the daughter of Papandreou-era health minister Georgios Gennimatas, credited with the creation of Greece's national health service.

She became an MP in 2000, spent four years as prefect for Athens and Piraeus and later served in various ministerial posts, before taking over the socialist party in 2015.

Gennimata was confirmed as leader in 2018 when the party adopted a new identity, renaming itself the Movement for Change (KINAL).

The socialists once dominated Greece's political scene but are now ranked third, with many blaming them for the country's bankruptcy in 2010 and being turned off by scandal investigations.

KINAL has 22 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament.