Venizelos under attack
PASOK leader sees leftist faction leave, prompting criticism from Papandreou
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos yesterday suffered his first blow since Democratic Left (DIMAR) dropped out of the coalition government as a leftist faction left his party, prompting an unexpected intervention from ex-Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Giorgos Panayiotakopoulos, who heads the Left Initiative, said that the departure was prompted by PASOK’s cooperation with New Democracy in the wake of DIMAR leaving the administration.
“The Samaras-Venizelos government is proof that PASOK is shifting to the neoconservative side and is transforming itself into a small center-right party,” he said. No PASOK MPs are involved in the Left Initiative.
However, it was ex-Premier Papandreou’s intervention that caused most raised eyebrows. Papandreou lamented the departure of the Left Initiative. “It is a shame that instead of multiplying its forces, the party is becoming isolated,” said the PASOK MP.
Papandreou also outlined the goals he feels the party should have, which include “being in constant opposition to clientelistic attitudes,” supporting sweeping reforms and “creating the necessary conditions for building a sustainable economy.”
Meanwhile, New Democracy’s party congress begins today and is expected to focus on boosting the morale of hardcore party supporters who have been unsettled by ND’s rap- prochement with PASOK. The congress, which is to culminate on Sunday with the election of the members of the party’s political committee, is also expected to emphasize the need for stability while also reaching out to former party members and other parts of the political spectrum for support.
Several senior ND cadres are expected to address the congress, including Dimitris Avramopoulos, who was moved to the Defense Ministry from the Foreign Ministry in the recent cabinet reshuffle, and the party’s second vice president, Stavros Dimas.
Next weekend, ND cadres will convene again to elect the members of the party’s executive secretariat.