PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday sought to style his party as the potential guarantors of cohesion in whatever new government emerges from the general election on June 17, indicating that the Socialists’ position in the middle of the political spectrum would play a definitive role in determining the next administration’s scope and direction.
In his speech before an audience of young scientists in Athens, the former finance minister insisted that PASOK’s priority was not “to secure office” but to influence the “breadth and the center-left direction” of a coalition government. But the PASOK leader did not determine in what capacity his party was prepared to back a new government -- whether it would be active participation or support.
Venizelos also appeared to shift the rhetoric of his campaign. He suggested that his party, which suffered a drubbing in the May 6 polls, was developing in a way that would please its founder, Andreas Papandreou. “We are forming a PASOK for the year 2020, one that Andreas Papandreou would want,” he said.
In a speech on Saturday in Livadia, north of Athens, Venizelos had struck a very different tone, calling for a revival to the weary party. “Our cadres cannot be the same age or older than me,” he said.
A much smaller party, the liberal coalition Dimiourgia Xana-Drasi, also declared its readiness to govern. “We might be a small party but we are a power party, not a protest party,” said Drasi leader Stefanos Manos. Manos criticized conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras -- whose party came first in May 6 elections but is now neck and neck with leftist SYRIZA -- of being the same as SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras. “They both promise money that doesn’t exist,” he said.