Four MPS re­turn to PASOK, a party in tur­moil

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Four MPs re­joined PASOK yes­ter­day, a few weeks af­ter be­ing ejected from the So­cial­ists’ par­lia­men­tary group for op­pos­ing the lat­est aus­ter­ity package, but their re­turn did not dis­guise the deep­en­ing ten­sion in the party.

It was an­nounced that former min­is­ters Costas Skan­da­lidis and An­gela Gerekou, along with Michalis Kas­sis and Yian­nis Koutsoukos would cease to be in­de­pen­dent MPs. Their re­turn took the num­ber of PASOK law­mak­ers back up to 28, which is still lower than the 33 the party had af­ter the na­tional elec­tions in June. It also in­creased the num­ber of deputies in the tri­par­tite coali­tion to 168, a com­fort­able ma­jor­ity in the 300-seat House.

Their re­turn came as PASOK heads to­ward its party congress at the end of the month. Prepa­ra­tions have led to ten­sion within the party. A group of 75 mem­bers, in­clud­ing some MPs, is­sued a state­ment ex­press­ing con­cern about the way the congress is be­ing planned. Their in­ter­ven­tion is seen as cast­ing doubts on Evan­ge­los Venize­los’s lead­er­ship.

The tense at­mos­phere in the party was ev­i­dent when mem­bers faith­ful to former Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou al­most came to blows with Venize­los sup­port­ers at PASOK’s head­quar­ters in cen­tral Athens yes­ter­day over com­plaints that the congress par­tic­i­pants had not been an­nounced yet.

The party could also suf­fer fur­ther dam­age from the par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into the La­garde list. Po­lice ex­perts in­formed MPs yes­ter­day that files con­tain­ing the names of some 2,000 Greek de­pos­i­tors had been opened on Septem­ber 30, 2010, hours af­ter the CD with the list was given to then Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou and that the per­son open­ing them had used 28 key­words to search the data, in­clud­ing “Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou,” “Pa­pakon­stanti­nou” and names of other politi­cians and busi­ness­men. The in­quiry is likely to be ex­tended un­til the end of March.

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