Movement for Change (KINAL) MP Andreas Loverdos has announced that he will support MEP Nikos Androulakis in the second round of voting for the party leadership.

Loverdos in the first round on 5 December came one percentage point short of defeating former PM George Papandreou for second place.

Androulakis finished first by a large margin, garnering 37.11 percent of the vote – over 270,000 members and “friends” of the party participated – with Papandreou receiving 27.6 percent of the vote, and 26.6 percent for Loverdos.

“I declare that it is self-evident that I respect the [will of] the majority in the 5 December poll and that I shall vote for Nikos Androulakis, with the clarification that I had no contact whatsoever with him until this announcement,” Loverdos said.

Androulakis’ victory now considered certain

With the support of Loverdos, who received over 67,000 votes in the first round, most believe that Androulakis’ victory is in the bag.

Although Loverdos made clear that he does not wish to sway voters in one way or another, his announcement may to some degree have the same effect, to the extent that voters follow his lead.

Most observers believe that Papandreou cannot reverse Androulakis’ nine percentage point lead in the first round, and many believe the lead will expand substantially and that he may win a crushing victory over the former PM.