Venize­los un­der at­tack

PA­SOK leader sees left­ist fac­tion leave, prompt­ing crit­i­cism from Pa­pan­dreou

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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