The River (Greece)
|Founded||26 February 2014|
|Political position||Centre to centre-left|
|European Parliament group||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
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The River (Greek: Το Ποτάμι, translit. To Potami, IPA: [to poˈtami]) is a centrist and social-liberal political party in Greece. The party was founded in February 2014 by Stavros Theodorakis. The party has two MEPs in the European Parliament and three seats in the Hellenic Parliament (down from the 11 elected in the last election).
2014 European Parliament election
In April 2014 representatives of The River met the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and with representatives of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) parliamentary groups.
On 27 May 2014, the two incoming MEPs announced their decision to sit with the S&D group in the European Parliament, whose intake included two MEPs from the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), citing the group's commitment to "tackling the recession and unemployment in Greece and the South in general", while ruling out joining the Party of European Socialists.
2015 legislative elections
On 5 January 2015, the Liberal Alliance party suspended talks about a joint electoral list with The River after the participation of Liberal Alliance's president Gregory Vallianatos had reportedly been ruled out by The River officials. Later, The River's leader Theodorakis and Theodoros Skylakakis, the leader of the liberal party Drasi, gave a joint press conference announcing a joint electoral list for the forthcoming legislative election.
In the January 2015 legislative election on 25 January 2015 The River received 6.1% of the electoral vote, finishing fourth place with a mandate for 17 seats in the Hellenic Parliament. In the aftermath of the election party leader Theodorakis stressed that Greece needed to avoid another snap election, and while ready to talk with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras about forming a coalition government, he said they wouldn't support any coalition that includes anti-European forces. The River became part of the parliamentary opposition to the governing first Tsipras cabinet.
On 19 April 2016, Yiannis Theoharis resigned from To Potami's parliamentary group.
On 13 January 2017, Rodopi MP Ilhan Ahmet became the fourth MP elected in the September 2015 general election to resign from the party. He later announced he was joining the Democratic Alignment parliamentary group.
Road to a new party
In July 2017, PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata announced the formation of a new centre-left party before the end of the year. In the summer of 2017, Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis decided to participate in the creation of the party to provide an alternative to Syriza led by prime minister Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis. A leadership election for the new party will be held on 12 November and 19 November 2017, with initially 10 candidates declaring their participation, including Theodorakis. After the leadership election both Potami and PASOK–DIMAR will continue to have separate parliamentary groups until the new party's founding congress in spring 2018.
On the first stage open primary election on 12 November 2017, Theodorakis came in fourth place with 9.8% of the vote, failing to reach the second round.  The run-off election on 19 November was won by Gennimata with 56% of the vote, with the new party's official foundation scheduled for 2018.
Following its launch, The River was initially described by the media as pro-European and centrist, inspired by social democracy and liberalism and heavily reliant on Theodorakis' personal popularity to attract voters. The general description of the party's political position ranged from centrist to centre-left.
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- Στη Νέα Δημοκρατία ο Ιάσων Φωτήλας
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- Konstandaras, Nikos (24 April 2014). "From Pericles to Potami". The New York Times.
...Potami’s pro-European Union, centrist policies...
- "River: Between social democracy and liberalism". Capital.gr. 29 June 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- Mandravelis, Paschos (21 January 2015). "Tight election campaign prompts copycat ads". Kathimerini.
...Potami, the centrist party...
- Barber, Tony (21 January 2015). "Greek political dynasties will bide their time". Financial Times.
...To Potami (“The River”), a new, anti-corruption, centrist party.
- Mason, Paul (20 January 2015). "Inside Syriza's economic brain". Channel 4.
...To Potami (The River) which I can best describe as a Blairite modernising centrist party...
- Wayne C. Thompson (2015). Western Europe 2015-2016. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-4758-1885-7.
- "Greek elections: Main parties from Syriza to Golden Dawn explained". BBC News. 21 January 2015.
The River (To Potami) is a moderate centre-left party
- Official website (in Greek)