Greek politician and President of center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), Fotini “Fofi” Gennimata passed away on Monday after a long battle with breast cancer, aged 56 years.
In a statement released by Anthony Albanese MP – Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Senator Penny Wong – Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Maria Vamvakinou MP – Member for Calwell, Steve Georganas MP – Member for Adelaide; The Australian Labor Party has expressed its condolences on the passing of Fofi, the leader of the third largest political party in Greece.
“As leader of Greece’s Movement for Change Party, Fofi was tasked with rebuilding and preserving the progressive movement in Greece,” the statement reads.
“Her leadership and service to public life was aided by her quiet determination, wisdom and stoicism.
“Among the Greek Diaspora, Fofi will be remembered as a strong ally and supporter. She was proud of her Party’s reformist agenda, which built bridges and connections between Greece and Australia’s Greek community.
“Fofi believed ardently in the power of education as the great key to social justice and egalitarianism, within a robust, democratic and socially progressive society.
“When she became ill, she fought it with the same brave determination that she brought to public life.
“On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, we join with friends and colleagues across the globe to pay tribute to this remarkable woman.”
Parliament in Greece has been suspended until the end of the week to mark Fofi’s death – the “smallest tribute” the House can pay, parliament speaker Konstantinos Tassoulas said.
“I bid her farewell with respect, but also overwhelmed by the thoughts provoked by her unjust and untimely death,” he said, upon his return from a trip to Saudi Arabia, which he cut short at news of Fofi’s death.
“She was a fighter for life, battling with dignity the challenges to her health and the enemy that hit her family,” he said, referring to the fact that her father, Georgios Gennimatas, one of the founding members of the PASOK socialist party that later became a part of KINAL, also died of cancer.
The news of Fofi’s death “has shocked us all,” government spokesperson Yiannis Oikonomou said. “She was a great woman with faith in democracy; a woman who fought bravely for her values and beliefs.”