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He was elected to the Greek Parliament in June 1989 with Synaspismos for Phthiotida, and re-elected in November 1989 and April 1990. On 16 July 1991, he switched affiliation and joined the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
He is a member of the Central Committee of KKE from 1991. Between 1994 and 2000 he served as General Secretary of EEDYE, the Greek branch of the World Peace Council. Between 2002 and 2004 he was a local councillor of the Athens Prefecture.
He was elected Member of the European Parliament for Greece in 2004 with KKE, and sat with the European United Left–Nordic Green Left. He was re-elected to the European Parliament in July 2009, but resigned on 13 October 2009 after being elected to the Greek Parliament with KKE. He was re-elected in May and June 2012.
- Terms of office of Thanasis Pafilis at the Hellenic Parliament (in English)
- Personal profile of Thanasis Pafilis in the European Parliament's database of members
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