PASOK to stand with new group in Euro polls

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

So­cial­ist PASOK, the ju­nior part­ner in the gov­ern­ing coali­tion with con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy, is to stand in Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions in May with a new center-left move­ment, of­fi­cials con­firmed yes­ter­day.

PASOK, whose for­tunes have been bat­tered over the past three years due to pub­lic crit­i­cism of aus­ter­ity poli­cies, will stand on a joint ticket with a new center-left group­ing, which is known both as the “Ini­tia­tive of the 58” and as the “Olive Tree,” un­der the name Pro­gres­sive Demo­cratic Party, of­fi­cials said. The joint ini­tia­tive is to be at­tempted un­der the broader um­brella of the Party of Euro­pean So­cial­ists (PES) in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

Demo­cratic Left, which pulled out of the PASOK-New Democ­racy coali­tion last June in protest at a de­ci­sion by Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras to pull the plug on for­mer state broad­caster ERT, has so far re­jected any al­liance with the Ini­tia­tive of the 58.

It is thought that for­mer In­te­rior Min­is­ter Tas­sos Gian­nit­sis will head the list of can­di­dates to stand for elec­tion in Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions, which are to take place on May 25.

Greek lo­cal au­thor­ity elec­tions were ex­pected to be held on the same date. But In­te­rior Min­is­ter Yian­nis Michelakis yes­ter­day told Mega TV that the gov­ern­ment was think­ing of hold­ing the first round of lo­cal elec­tions on May 18 and the sec­ond, when the con­trol of key cities is likely to be de­cided, on May 25.

His com­ments sparked crit­i­cism from Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis and left­ist SYRIZA, which op­posed the new pro­posal, de­scrib­ing it as a “cheap trick” aimed at in­creas­ing sup­port for the gov­ern­ment at the bal­lot box.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment yes­ter­day, the right-wing anti-bailout party In­de­pen­dent Greeks ousted one MP, Gior­gos Davris, leav­ing it with 17 deputies in the 300-seat House and in­creas­ing the num­ber of in­de­pen­dent MPs to 15. The de­ci­sion, which was taken by party leader Panos Kam­menos, af­ter Davris failed to turn up to a ses­sion of the party’s cen­tral com­mit­tee over the weekend, makes the ul­tra-right Golden Dawn the fourth-largest party in Par­lia­ment, with 18 deputies.

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