Communist Party of Greece
|Politics of Greece|
The Communist Party of Greece, better known by its acronym ΚΚΕ (Greek: Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα Ελλάδας, Kommunistiko Komma Elladas), is the major communist party in Greece.
It was founded on November 4, 1918 as the Socialist Labour Party of Greece or SEKE (Greek: Σοσιαλιστικό Εργατικό Κόμμα Ελλάδας, Sosialistiko Ergatiko Komma Elladas) by Avraam Benaroya, a Greek Jewish teacher. The party was run by a five-member central committee which included Nikolaos Dimitratos, D. Ligdopoulos, M. Sideris, Arvanitis and Kokkinos.
At the Second Congress of the SEKE in April 1920, the party decided to affiliate to the Third International. In addition, it extended its name to Socialist Labour Party of Greece-Communist or SEKE-K. A new central committee was elected, which included N. and P. Dimitratos, Y. Kordatos, G. Doumas and M. Sideris.
At the Third Extraordinary Congress of the SEKE-K in November 1924, the party was renamed the Communist Party of Greece and adopted the principles of Marxism-Leninism. It has been functioning ever since on the basis of "democratic centralism".
With a few exceptions it was banned from 1918 to 1974.
During the German occupation of Greece during World War II, the Communists together with other parts of the Greek Left formed a resistance army called the National People's Liberation Army (in Greek the Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos or ELAS), which by 1944 controlled three-fifths of the country. At the end of the war fighting broke out between ELAS and Greek government backed by the British army. Following a cease fire agreement known as Varkiza pact, ELAS laid down arms with the idea of a political process. The disarmament of ELAS triggered mass purges, percecutions and assasinations of communists and leftists. This led to the Hellenic Civil War which lasted until 1949 and ended with the defeat of the Democratic Army.
On February 18, 1968 a small group split from KKE, forming the so-called "KKE esoterikou" (known as the KKE Interior) and following a Eurocommunist line.
After the restoration of democracy in 1974, the KKE appeared in the first elections together with the KKE Interior and the EDA under the name United Left (Greek: Enomeni Aristera, Ενωμένη Αριστερά), receiving 9.36% of the vote. This first form could be hardly considered a coalition though, and from 1977 to 1989, the KKE appeared by itself in all elections, receiving usually around 10% of the vote.
Participation in government
In 1989 KKE and KKE esoterikou, along with some other left organisations, formed Coalition of the Left and Progress (Greek: Synaspismos tis Aristeras kai tis Proodou, Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς και της Προόδου). In 1991, it withdrew itself from the coalition; a part of its members, however, split from the party and remained in Synaspismos which evolved into a new singe Party.
KKE's youth section is the Communist Youth of Greece (Greek: Κομμουνιστική Νεολαία Ελλαδας, KNE).
The Communist Party stands in elections and has members in local government, national government and the European Parliament. In the European Parliament they are part of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left group.
In all elections between 1993 and 2004, the KKE received a 4.54% to 5.9% of the vote, thus remaining the third party inside the Greek Parliament.
In the September 16, 2007 elections, however, KKE received over 8% of the vote and was represented in Parliament by 22 MPs.
In 2009, the KKE received a 7.54% share of the vote, electing 21 MPs.
In the May 2012, the party garnered 8.48% of the vote which dropped in the repeat election in June to 4.50%.
The party publishes a daily newspaper, Rizospastis.
- Aristos Arvanitis (Chairman of SEKE which evolved into the KKE)
- 1. Nikolaos Dimitratos (1919-1922)
- 2. Yiannis Kordatos (February 1922-November 1922)
- 3. Nikolaos Sargologos (November 1922-September 1923)
- 4. Thomas Apostolidis (September 1923-December 1924)
- 5. Pantelis Pouliopoulos (December 1924-1925)
- 6. Eleftherios Stavridis (1925-1926)
- 7. Pastias Giatsopoulos (September 1926-December 1926)
- Pantelis Pouliopoulos (December 1926-1928)
- 8. Andronikos Chaitas (1928)
- 9. Giorgios Siantos (1928-1931)
- 10. Nikolaos Zachariadis (1931-1936)
- 11. Vasilis Nefeloudis (1936-1938)
- Giorgios Siantos (1938-1939)
- 12. Dimitris Papayiannis (1939-1941)
- 13. Andreas Tsipas (1941)
- Giorgios Siantos (1941-1945)
- Nikolaos Zachariadis (1945-1956)
- 14. Apostolos Grozos (1956)
- 15. Konstantinos Koligiannis (1956-1972)
- 16. Charilaos Florakis (1972-1989)
- 17. Grigoris Farakos (1989-1991)
- 18. Aleka Papariga (1991-2013)
- 19. Dimitris Koutsoumbas (2013- )
- KKE page in English
- Greek election results, via the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs