PASOK boss distances party from partners

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos Wednesday distanced his party from its two coalition partners, conservative New Democracy and Democratic Left, while also heralding an overhaul of the Socialist party, which suffered heavy losses in recent elections.

Addressing his 33 MPs ahead of the expected opening of Parliament, Venizelos drew clear dividing lines between PASOK and its partners. “We are cooperating with New Democracy but that does not mean we identify with them, either in terms of politics or values,” he said, blaming ND for harming the country through its strong opposition to Greece’s first bailout and leaving PASOK to bear the burden of the country’s recovery on its own.

Venizelos also condemned Democratic Left for trying to attract PASOK voters to join the leftists ahead of the June and May elections.

Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis, for his part, emphasized the need for growth-oriented measures to be implemented without delay to combat a deepening recession. Speaking to reporters after talks with President Karolos Papoulias, the leftist leader said he was confident that, in talks with European leaders in Brussels, Greece’s head of state would emphasize the multiple problems caused by the “ineffective and relentless” measures of the memorandum, referring to the country’s loan deal with creditors.

Meanwhile Alexis Tsipras, the leader of leftist SYRIZA, which came second in this month’s elections on a pledge to abolish the memorandum, suggested that the result of the polls, which involved at least half of voters backing anti-bailout parties, made it clear that Greeks expect the country’s creditors to make concessions. “They have high expectations,” he said. 

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